OME-Tech Council Conference 2022 Panel
From left: Damian Romano, State Employees’ Credit Union; Todd Clemens, SunWest Federal Credit Union; David Plaut, Yolo Federal Credit Union; and Joseph Bongcayao, Oregon Community Credit Union.

Win the information security talent war

Happy employees stick around, panelists tell Security Summit attendees.

September 21, 2022

Recent information security (IS) statistics tell a scary story: The U.S. cybersecurity workforce has a shortage of 377,000 people, 57% of U.S. companies have a cybersecurity skills shortage, and the average IS professional earns nearly $120,000 a year.

“This is what we’re all dealing with,” says Eric Starkey, chief information officer at Louisiana Federal Credit Union in LaPlace. “We’re all struggling to keep people in our shops.”

Starkey led a panel discussion Tuesday at the ninth Annual Security Summit that precedes the 2022 CUNA Operations & Member Experience Council and CUNA Technology Council Conference in Las Vegas.

The panelists were: 

  • Joseph Bongcayao, infrastructure manager at Oregon Community Credit Union in Springfield.
  • Todd Clemens, information technology (IT) director at SunWest Federal Credit Union in Phoenix.
  • David Plaut, vice president of IT at Yolo Federal Credit Union in Woodland, Calif.
  • Damian Romano, senior vice president, offensive security, at State Employees’ Credit Union in Raleigh, N.C.

Some strategies panelists employ to win the IS talent war:

  • Focus on culture. While compensation is important, people will stay where they’re happy. “Money always matters, but if your culture is good, you can keep them,” Starkey says.
  • Pay more. The tight labor market, especially for IS professionals, makes it crucial to pay people more. If employees can easily earn 25% more elsewhere, panelists say, they’ll likely leave.
  • Outsource. This can make IS expertise more affordable and accessible.
  • Develop current employees. Train and develop junior employees, and give them a path for advancement. Find staff with drive and who want to learn and grow.
  • Manage job candidates’ expectations. Some people expect to IS to involve crime scene investigations—when it often entails reviewing audit logs.

“A lot boils down to whether you’re a good leader, a good manager, and if you train people,” Romano says. “This will keep people around. Happy employees will stay around.”

This article is part of  Tech22, CUNA News’ special focus on innovations and developments in technology. Follow the conversation on Twitter via #Tech22.