The Cybersecurity Skills Gap: Who’s To Blame?

The Cybersecurity Skills Gap: Who’s To Blame?

If you’re a hiring manager, you know firsthand about the so-called ‘skills gap’ in cybersecurity, and nearly all IT areas, for that matter. The conventional thinking is that there just aren’t enough qualified candidates to fill those empty seats.

In our travels we see a different story. We see a huge pool of talent, in fact a supply that exceeds current demand. Why the discrepancy?

What’s a ‘qualified’ candidate?

The disconnect may be in that term ‘qualified.’ You might have recruiters out there looking for candidates who check every box on your wish list of skills, and that is understandable. But those recruiters are fishing in the same pond as all the other recruiters working for all the other companies, playing catch and release with the same applicants. No wonder candidates flip from job to job.

Consider whether you could define a qualified candidate this way: Someone who has the technical proficiency you need, is eager and willing to grow on the job, and who’s ready to learn to do things your way and become a long-term, loyal team member. Isn’t that the outcome you’re looking for? That is the textbook definition of an apprenticeship program.

There is a virtual army of apprentice candidates ready to fill your empty chairs, but you won’t find them in those same old places. It’s a different pond, and it’s very well stocked. What the business world needs now is companies like yours ready to embrace and invest in a new way of doing things, a way that changes organizations and changes lives.

More diverse, more loyal

If your concern is that a new approach won’t check the right boxes on your wish list, consider that this is a much more diverse pool of talent than the industry as a whole, with women represented at a rate one-third higher than the average. A 91 percent loyalty rate is a pretty good box to check, also.

So maybe it’s time to ask: Is there really a skills gap, or is the gap between an old and ineffective way of doing things and a new and better way?

Your Next Great Hire Could Be Right Under Your Nose

Your Next Great Hire Could Be Right Under Your Nose

Are you overlooking the skilled talent in your workforce?

If the answer is yes, you are not alone.  Only 28% of talent acquisition leaders today consider internal candidates when looking to fill vacancies.

Laura Randell, CEO of global recruitment strategy and HR technology consulting company PeopleMatters, explains, “In highly evolved organizations where succession planning and performance reviews happen regularly, and transparency of hiring practices is the norm, looking to internal candidates first is natural.”  Yet, the vast majority of small to midsize companies do not have a process for succession planning.  There is no way to know who might be the best person in the organization for the role, so companies look externally as a first step.  “The assumption is that they don’t exist, or it’s easier to just look outside,” Randell continues.

Overlooking talent within your own organization is risky.  Especially in today’s competitive environment.  According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, voluntary turnover levels are growing — a direct sign that employee loyalty is on the decline.

Yet, a Talent Trends study from LinkedIn shows that 25% of employees actually prefer to hang in there in hopes of a promotion.  And the report also shows that 24% of employees will consider a move if overlooked for a promotion.  In fact, career advancement is the most common reason employees jump ship.  Census and Bureau of Labor Statistics data show that 95% of hiring is to fill existing positions — pointing to poor retention as the root cause.

Hiring is difficult and costly. Retention is on the decline.  Why, then, aren’t hiring managers seeing beyond the end of their noses when sniffing out talent?

Research has pointed to three major causes:

  • Perceived Internal Skills Gap: Some hiring managers assume existing employees lack the exact skill match they’re hoping to find.  Or they are looking for newer skills that aren’t yet in evidence with their existing talent pool.

Skill needs evolve and emerge — especially in tech-focused roles.  It is difficult for workers to perform their day to day duties, much less exercise and stay current on advancing skills.

  • Poor Planning: Some hiring managers are planning for attrition rather than training for retention.  Rather than investing in the existing workforce, companies fill the pipeline with poached talent.  With the assumption that new talent will bring the skills they crave.

Hiring organizations tend to overestimate the “portability” of skills and experience.  And that includes how effectively skills can be applied in new organizations.  New hires often underperform, as past success is often due to the companies for which they worked.  Internal hires bring organizational knowledge that helps them get up to speed in new roles faster.  Internal hiring also builds a healthy referral pipeline from happy employees, since people naturally tend to refer others when their own career has grown in the company.

  • Panic Over Flight Risk: Some hiring managers fear that workers will leave and take their valuable training with them.  Or, some may fear that promoting from within will leave a difficult to fill gap in their own department.

Ask yourself the common sense question.  How much of their future will an employee invest with a company when the company makes them feel like a commodity not worth the investment?

What message are you sending to your workforce?  The wrong message comes at a high cost.  According to the Center for American Progress, it costs about 20% of an employee’s salary to replace that individual.  And, in the end, the cycle of replacing employees only winds up costing more than upskilling.

Apprenticeship Programs

Apprenticeship programs are a proven way to uncover untapped talent in your workforce and reduce the financial burden and risks of external hiring.  Consider not only what an internal candidate has done, but what he or she is capable of doing — with programs that identify crossover skills and structure training of new, advanced skills.

What about that entry-level gap left by a promoted worker?  Why not backfill that role with an entry-level apprentice! Mentors, Success Coaches, training programs, and all the necessary paperwork will already be in place for both incumbent and new talent.

Viola! You now have a growing workforce of loyal employees. All right under your nose.

If you’d like to learn more about the differences between new hires and apprentices, check this out:  A Candid Candidate Comparison: Who Would You Choose for Your Company?

To learn more about starting an apprenticeship program in your organization, contact us, here.

The Growing Technological Skills Gap in the Wake of the Fourth Industrial Revolution

The Growing Technological Skills Gap in the Wake of the Fourth Industrial Revolution

Are Apprenticeships an Answer?

We have faced three industrial revolutions, and, according to the World Economic Forum, a Fourth Industrial Revolution is imminent. On the coat tails of the Third Industrial Revolution of 1969, which brought us mass production, this next phase is a technological revolution, described as “the advent of ‘cyber-physical systems’ involving entirely new capabilities for people and machines.”

Ushering in this evolution are exciting transformational technologies – artificial intelligence, the ‘Internet of Things’, Big Data, 3D printing – some of which we have already begun to embrace, and others we have yet to fully realize or comprehend.

But with massive labor shortages in critical IT areas, educational systems that have fallen behind the rest of the world, and corporations that have slashed training budgets, are 21st century companies in the US really prepared for this coming revolution?

The World Economic Forum’s The Future of Jobs Employment, Skills and Workforce Strategy for the Fourth Industrial Revolution explores the profoundly shifting landscape. Transformative technologies, creating major disruption to traditional business models, will have “a significant impact on jobs, ranging from significant job creation to job displacement, and from heightened labor productivity to widening skills gaps.”

So how can the IT industry – paradoxically at the forefront of digital disruption, yet struggling to fill vital roles in emerging technologies – keep up?

According to The Manpower Group’s 2016/2017 Talent Shortage Survey, the global shortage in IT talent has jumped from seventh to second position, with nearly 600,000 IT openings in the US alone. And, as technological disruption advances, this gap will continue to widen.

One fundamental change necessary to close the widening talent gap is the modernization of an apprenticeship system.  The apprenticeship workforce model — developed following the first industrial revolution — successfully altered attitudes toward training for the most formative industries of that era.   And, it can serve the same purpose, today.

Modernization of the apprenticeship model involves, first and foremost, adjusting perceptions about how we recruit, train, and advance our workers for today, and the future. Progressive IT companies are already thinking and acting differently to reinvent staffing and training practices. Industry leaders are retooling training budgets to accommodate apprenticeship programs, and working directly with secondary educators to develop real-life accredited on the job course curriculums as a proactive means to widen their talent pool.

As we learned from our second and third industrial revolution predecessors, a well-planned and executed apprenticeship program is an opportunity to discover talent in hidden pockets, reduce recruitment costs, and retain teams of loyal employees.  Apprenticeships represented an earn-while-you-learn model that worked to bolster one revolution, and could be the answer to supporting the next one.


Join the movement. Learn how your company can prepare for the coming revolution. Contact Franklin Apprenticeships.

New Company, Franklin Apprenticeships, Aims To Modernize American Apprenticeships

New Company, Franklin Apprenticeships, Aims To Modernize American Apprenticeships

May 31, 2017, Washington DC. –– In an announcement made today,  Franklin Apprenticeships, dedicated to modernizing and organizing an American apprenticeship industry, launches its innovative new company. Aimed at revitalizing an age-old practice to bring hope to America’s 21st century workforce issues, Franklin Apprenticeships wants to invigorate practical, real-life workforce training and development.

Originally announced at the Transatlantic Apprenticeship Exchange Forum in Washington, DC in November 2016, the founders at Franklin Apprenticeships have been engaged in aggressively securing and supporting apprenticeship programs that are set to begin this year. These efforts aim to bridge the skills gaps between employees and employers, as well as workforce development entities that need to attract and retain young workers in their communities.

The first mover in the US marketplace dedicated to fast tracking and growing a new Apprenticeship Movement, the Franklin Apprenticeships consulting and capacity building services are focused on unlocking the potential for America to regain competitive edge in high growth industries. Learn more about Franklin Apprenticeships.

Read the full news release here.

7 Problems Apprenticeships Solve That Traditional Education Doesn’t

7 Problems Apprenticeships Solve That Traditional Education Doesn’t

Re-imagined Programs Create Win-Win Opportunities for Everyone. 

At the recent Celebration of Apprenticeships Conference in London, Franklin Apprenticeships co-founder Tom Bewick chaired a panel discussion about American Apprenticeship expansion. Bewick, a source of knowledge for UK apprenticeship training providers, led a vibrant discussion about the burgeoning commercial opportunities in the United States, where a major apprenticeship expansion effort is currently underway. 

Expert panel discussion focused on the various opportunities for British companies to bring their highly successful apprenticeship programs to the US. These include:

  1. Filling the critical skills gap in high growth industries such as IT, Financial Services and Advanced Manufacturing
  2. Advancing US STEM initiatives with a wider range of non-traditional apprenticeships. Currently in the US, apprenticeships are dominated by military and traditional trades. UK companies can introduce US companies to apprenticeship programs in such industries as creative arts, healthcare, IT, media, professional services, and digital office.
  3. Adding diversity in the apprentice pool and the workforce – Program expansion into non-traditional apprenticeship sectors invites participation by more women and minorities.
  4. Bettering job prestige at the entry level – especially in the high tech and health care industries.
  5. Improving ROI for corporate job training programs.
  6. Creating standards for employees and employers with qualifications and skills assessments.
  7. Adjusting training budgets make apprenticeship programs affordable for smaller companies, and scalable for larger companies.

So what’s missing? Why haven’t more US companies adopted the apprenticeship model? While companies see apprenticeships as a solution, they typically don’t know how to get started. That’s where there is tremendous opportunity to take content from the UK and other international programs and configure it for US companies. Fast tracking programs and streamlining support can help to speed US adoption.

For more insight about apprenticeship programs in the US, please contact Kim Nichols, CEO, Franklin Apprenticeships.

Watch the full panel discussion here: