Priority #4: Cybersecurity Workforce Challenges – International Strategy to Better Protect the Financial System Against Cyber Threats

More details about the findings of this working group will be made available at the end of 2020.

Cybersecurity Workforce in the Public Sector

Problem Statement: The Challenges of Public Sector Workforce Development

Cybersecurity has become a top concern for central banks, ministries of finance, and other financial supervisory authorities.19 At the same time, these public institutions face a unique mix of challenges related to hiring and retaining staff with expertise and experience in this area. The biggest workforce development challenge for public institutions is that they cannot typically compete for talent with the private sector based on salary alone. In addition, financial sector authorities compete not only with the private sector but also with authorities in other jurisdictions. That is why public institutions must often find other ways than salary to make their workplace appealing to potential and current employees.

When considering other incentives, it is worth noting that public institutions operate in a unique environment, which can drive similarly unique career development opportunities:

  • Public institutions rarely focus on only one area of cybersecurity, as they must field a defense across a range of specialties. This breadth of focus presents opportunities for employees to move through the organization, learning as they go.
  • Public sector institutions often have unique authority and access to information, providing unique work opportunities that other employers cannot replicate.
  • Like most workers, cybersecurity employees are motivated to work in jobs where the mission matters; public sector employers can emphasize the value of public service in workforce development efforts.

In addition, the assertion that public sector employers can never compete when it comes to salary is an oversimplification. For example, in the United States, federal government jobs requiring only a high school education or a bachelor’s degree tend to pay more than comparable jobs in the private sector; however, employees in the public sector with advanced degrees made about 24 percent less than their industry counterparts.20 The salary gap is greater in a highly competitive hiring market like cybersecurity, and government employers certainly do struggle to compete with private sector salaries, but the gap is not insurmountable.21

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