Retraining to Fill the Security Workforce Skills Gap

Retraining to Fill the Security Workforce Skills Gap
Jillian Bateman — September 25, 2019

I recently read a headline that stated, “Amazon Commits to Investing Millions in Training.” I wasn’t that captivated by the headline, as I would assume a company as large as Amazon would want/need to invest pretty heavily in training. I kept seeing the topic come across my various news sources and I decided to look closer at what the big deal was.

The interesting part was that Amazon isn’t planning on training its employees to enhance the roles they currently have, they are going to train employees for completely new roles that are pegged as the fastest-growing, highly-skilled jobs. These include data mapping specialist, data scientist, solutions architect, security engineer, business analyst, transportation specialist, and process improvement manager. This training program is focused on training non-technical employees’ skills that will allow them to move into software and engineering careers.

Now I understand why it was making headlines – Amazon is being proactive in retraining its own workforce to meet future demands.

Fortifying and Future-proofing

It’s no surprise that there is a workforce shortage, and predictions show the situation will not improve in the short term because of the sheer volume of baby boomers leaving the workforce. According to data released by the US Department of Labor, the US economy had 7.4 million job openings in June 2019, but only 6 million people were looking for work. That’s more open jobs than people to fill them. So how will retraining your current workforce help this shortage? If companies provide training to their employees in high-skill areas, this is an attractive benefit to job seekers, but it also ensures that the company has an internal pool of skilled workers who can help the company adapt as technology changes and the needs of their customers change.

Besides a gap in available workers, some employers are also struggling to find employees who have the skills needed to be hired. There is some debate on why, or even if a skills gap exists in the US.

However, there is pretty clear evidence that the skilled trades professions are finding it difficult to find employees that have the fundamental skills to enter the field.

The retirement of the baby boomer workforce is one of the leading causes of the skills gap, as a large portion of the trade industry was populated by baby boomers. Today’s younger workforce is not large enough to fill these vacated positions, so there is a need to quickly attract more people into these skilled trades.

Investing in a robust and forward-thinking training program will help companies be better prepared to adapt for innovation, or a change in services they provide. Amazon’s decision to make such a huge investment into retraining its current workforce is an example of a corporation being more proactive in managing its labor shortage and working from within to meet any future demands. It’s also an excellent employee benefit as it provides the employee with a career path into a new and growing field that provides them a solid future for job security. How can this training investment apply to the typical security solutions dealer?

Skills to Watch for the Security Workforce

One idea would be to ensure all employees of the company are trained on internet protocol communications. As product lines continue to evolve using this communication pathway, more employees will need to understand the protocol. In addition, almost every piece of equipment being manufactured today is a connected device, so providing your employees this fundamental education will prepare them for any position within the company.

Customer service training is another topic that all employees should be exposed to. Consumers’ access to social media can have tremendous repercussions, both positive and negative, for a company’s reputation; therefore, it is vital that every employee understands the importance of customer service. Consumer analytics is a growing field, so ensuring your employees are adept in understanding your customers’ needs will provide them skills for today and tomorrow.

Finally, cybersecurity training is vitally important for all employees in order to protect the company’s assets and those of the customers. The need for cybersecurity knowledge is going to continue to be critically important and training your employees in this area will help them close the skill gap in this growing field.

ESA’s National Training School has many courses that can provide an investment in your company’s future and your employees, as well as addressing the country’s workforce shortage. Currently there are several topics on network/wireless protocols that all employees can benefit from. Soon, ESA/NTS will be launching more courses on topics such as customer service, management and cybersecurity – all topics that will contribute to your company’s efforts to invest in the future and current workforce. To learn more, be sure you are subscribed to ESA emails and communications.