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Retaining security talent: 5 to-dos

Retaining top security talent is arguably one of the toughest jobs in the industry today. Frequent high-profile data breaches and building a defense against future attacks have increased demand for highly-skilled security professionals, spinning up a war for talent in both the private and public sectors. So what can you do to keep your security employees happy and keep them in your organization? Think about what keeps you in your current one. Would you agree it goes beyond a list of responsibilities and a paycheck? If your answer is yes, read on for suggestions on what you can and should be doing to increase the chance that your security folks stick around.

Learning opportunities and on-the-job training

Security professionals tend to be curious and enjoy learning new skills and technology. Furthermore, it simply is not possible to keep up with everything that is changing and evolving in the security space. Supporting your security employees in attending industry events and outside training opportunities sends the message that they are worth investing in and their growth matters. It allows them to network with others and gain visibility in the industry, while picking up new trends and ideas that can then be applied back on the job. Opportunities to work with new technologies and challenges can also be incredibly fulfilling and increase employee satisfaction.

Opportunity for advancement within

Providing  employees with opportunities to advance from within your company is hugely linked with retention. Make clear to your top security employees what future opportunities are available to them within your organization. Create roles they can move into with additional responsibilities and opportunities for visibility and advancement. You don’t want your key employees wondering where they’re going in their career; make sure they know what’s on the horizon for them and help them get there. Carving out an internal security career path can go a long way in helping your top folks focus on their work and not on wondering if there’s a place for them down the line.

Company culture

Who your employer is matters. A company’s reputation within the industry plays a critical role in retaining top talent. Is there a sense of camaraderie amongst teammates? Are there programs in place to promote this? Consider bringing some fun into the day by offering rewards or creating a healthy dose of competition by hosting contests between employees. Create weekly or monthly incentives for fun prizes like free tickets to a game or concert. People like to have fun and when there’s even a small bond between team members, it can make a big difference on whether someone stays or looks elsewhere.

Balance and flexibility

Security is a career often known for being high-stress and a likely path to burnout. Practically enforcing work-life balance and promoting flexible work options can go a long way towards burnout prevention and job satisfaction. Consider offering  work-from-home days and/or flexible work hours. Perks on the job such as providing free food or coffee, services such as dry-cleaning and childcare, bus passes, cell phones, and so forth, might seem small but again, sends the message that employees are worth investing in and taking care of.


Aside from paying your top talent what they’re worth (I’ll assume you are),  let your top employees know they’re essential to your business. Give them a seat at the table and pull them into high priority meetings. Ask for their opinions. If possible, make the security group part of the business, not a separate silo. Leverage their insights and talents to educate non-security employees to be their company’s first line of defense. Provide opportunities for visibility and growth in the industry. Basically find ways that go beyond money to show them how much value they add to your company.

Your key employees and top talent know they’re good at what they do and what they’re worth. They chose your company as much as you chose them. Offering them more than a job and a paycheck may encourage your top talent to stick around and other top talent to start knocking at your door.