Federal IT Heads See Retention a Key Priority for Cyber Workforce

Jeff Brody

Despite providing training and implementing new approaches to prepare federal employees to take on cybersecurity roles, the government continues to face challenges building and retaining its cyber workforce, FCW reported Thursday. Information technology officials from different agencies raised concerns with the effectiveness of the new cyber workforce executive order. 

"What I'm not sure how much will get addressed with the executive order is, what about retention?" Shane Barney, chief information security officer of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, said at a recent Government CIO conference. 

The government provides "some really great things" like incentives to attract and retain employees. However, Barney cited he still sees people not taking any cyber-related job after training. "I'm sure any CISO or any CIO could tell you the horror stories of that exact same experience," he said. "It really hurts us. And that's a difficult gap to breach."

Beth Killoran, deputy chief information officer at the General Services Administration, said employees tend to seek other opportunities as the government fails to meet the needs of new workers. 

"If we can either show folks that we can improve their skillset or show folks they'll have opportunities they're not going to have at a different agency or the private sector, that's what's going to keep them," she said.

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