March 9, 2022

The Great Resignation & Cybersecurity w/ Jessie Bolton

by Cyber Ranch

Show Notes

With a looming skills/people gap in cybersecurity and retention at an all time low, it begs the question: Where is everyone? In this episode, Allan Alford and guest Jessie Bolton sit down to discuss the elusive “Great Resignation” and how it is affecting the cybersecurity community. Tune in to get the answers to the questions we are all asking ourselves, like: why are people resigning, how has the pandemic shifted our perspectives on work and boundary setting, how is the “great resignation” impacting security organizations, and how can we attempt to solve this issue?

 

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Transcript

Jessie Bolton:

It's scary, but I think what the mistake is, is thinking that we don't have to make changes to the culture, to the way of doing things. We do have to start asking ourselves, "Why are they leaving?" Not just saying, "Oh gosh, they left. Those Gen Zs." No it's, we have to wake up and allow the Googles and the Microsofts, the four day work weeks, and we have to start shifting our perspective, listening to our teams, bringing them in on important meetings, new changes in the organization.

Allan Alford:

That's Jessie Bolton, founder and CEO of Bolt Resources, a cybersecurity staffing and consulting firm that places roles ranging from individual contributor all the way up to the CISO. Jessie is talking here about how cybersecurity employers need to pivot in the face of the great resignation. Now, Jessie is not your average recruiter. When she decided that her firm would focus on cybersecurity, she joined ISSA, where she is now a member of the board of the North Texas Chapter. She's also a member of (ISC)²'s DFW Chapter. And if that's not enough, she has even attended the CISSP classes.

Allan Alford:

I asked her to come on down and share some of her insights about the great resignation in cybersecurity. And I'm so grateful she could make the time. Jessie, thank you so much for coming on down to the Ranch.

Jessie Bolton:

Thank you for having me.

Speaker 3:

Welcome to The Cyber Ranch Podcast, recorded under the big blue sky of Texas, where one CISO explores a cybersecurity landscape with the help of friends and experts. Here's your host, Allan Alford.

Allan Alford:

All right. Let's get briefly started here with a bit about your background in cybersecurity and a bit about your day job.

Jessie Bolton:

Yeah, so I started my cybersecurity career, I wouldn't say I'm totally in it, I help people get into cyber. And I've always had an ultra ego, a secret one I don't really tell everybody. I've always dreamed of being the FBI agent, the CIA and catching the bad guys. And I figured this is the closest I can get to it. So about three years ago, I started an IT consulting staffing agency. And since the pandemic, I thought it would be a better idea if I shifted focus to cybersecurity alone and help the guys that want to get into it and gals get into cyber and started a CISO practice as well. And that has since ventured off to virtual CISOs and all things cybersecurity. So in order to do that and talk the lingo and know what the heck I'm doing, I had to immerse myself in cyber. So I showed up to all the conferences and webinars and I'm reading every day. And it's just been a lot of fun.

Allan Alford:

I have to say, that's impressive to me. I've worked with a lot of recruiters that don't put in that much effort to learn the subject matter of the folks with whom they're working. Getting to the point where you're actually on the board of is ISSA, that's tremendous to me, that's outstanding commitment to the folks you are serving in the community. I just want to say I'm very impressed with all that.

Jessie Bolton:

Thank you. I can't believe how things have developed. It's humbling and also exciting at the same time.

Allan Alford:

And it also makes you a really good person to talk to about our subject for this show, which is the great resignation and how it is impacting cybersecurity. Now, this is something like everybody in the news is hearing about the great resignation and everyone's talking about fast food workers quitting their jobs and all this, but I thought it's probably more than that, it's more nuanced than that. And obviously there's an impact to cyber. So why don't we start with just, what is the great resignation and why is it great? How big is this phenomenon?

Jessie Bolton:

Well, it's not so great. It's great in that it's pretty massive the number of people that are quitting. Last time I checked the US labor department, it was about 4.5 million people quit in November. And that number has fluctuated more or less since. And it's still enough to pay attention to. And how is it affecting cyber? I won't touch on that quite yet, I just want to really pay attention to why are they quitting? And it's interesting the ages, it's the gen Z, millennials. I believe it was Harvard Business Review. I found that ways between the ages of 30 and 45 mid-level positions, the highest increase in those resignation rates were pretty massive in the seventies, from what I recall were millennials also.

Allan Alford:

Interesting. All right. So how much of the workforce is gen Z these days? Everyone talks about millennials and gen Zs. And I think a lot of people conflate the two terms, and frankly, I've seen a lot of people in my generation just basically use either of those two terms to just mean young people. How much is actually gen Z nowadays?

Jessie Bolton:

Yeah. Well, I'm going to speak to cybersecurity alone, and that is 47 to be exact. And that was the last I checked, end of year 2021 workforce study by (ISC)². Yeah, that was for several thousand members of that, or I guess participants in that study was 47% gen Z.

Allan Alford:

That is a lot of people.

Jessie Bolton:

Yeah. A lot.

Allan Alford:

That age, this new up and coming generation in the workforce is not just up and coming anymore. It sounds like they're taking over.

Jessie Bolton:

Yeah, understandably so.

Allan Alford:

They're coming in with a different set of attitudes and a different set of beliefs about what maybe things like work life balance, and I'm sure COVID is a factor. We'll get into some of these details, but fundamentally, what are these guys citing? The folks that are resigning, we've got a huge amount. You said 4.3 million just in November alone, which is mind blowing to me. I thought the millions was over the year, not over the month. And now we're saying 47% of the folks that are

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