OPM targets agencies' top-5 cyber talent gaps

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The Office of Personnel Management is acting swiftly to address cybersecurity skills gaps in the federal workforce, a priority of the recently unveiled Cybersecurity Strategy and Implementation Plan.

OPM and the Chief Human Capital Officers Council released a pair of memos this week to help federal hiring managers detect and address cyber talent deficits. The memos include a rundown of strategies managers can use to attract and retain qualified workers.

The CSIP memo directs agencies to report their top-five cyber talent gaps to OPM and the Office of Management and Budget by Dec. 17 using OPM’s existing Special Cyber Workforce Project, which provides Cybersecurity job codes by specialty, so that agency leadership can identify the universe of their Cyber talent, understand Federal-wide challenges for retaining talent, and address gaps accordingly.’

OPM has created a chart to help federal hiring personnel select the five jobs their agencies most need to fill.

After determining their ‘supply’ of cyber talent, agencies should pay attention to their anticipated ‘demand,’ or ‘their future Cyber needs and requirements, to ensure we identify the Cyber workforce needed. The difference between the supply and demand will inform agencies’ lists of their top five Cyber talent gaps,’ says one of the memos, issued Nov. 23 and signed by OPM CHCO Mark Reinhold.

OPM began its cyber workforce project in 2013, coding all the jobs in the federal government based on their relation to cybersecurity to more effectively track cyber personnel levels.

‘We have a huge database of federal positions and employees, and what we have been unable to do governmentwide until now is look at that database and identify everybody who is working in cybersecurity because we have known that cybersecurity workers reach way beyond … our IT security people,’ Sydney Smith-Heimbrock, now the executive director of OPM’s Innovation Lab, said in December 2014.

The hiring authorities memo, released the same day, doesn’t introduce any new hiring, pay or leave strategies but reminds hiring managers of some unique ways they can address their agencies’ staffing needs – pointing to the special authority to hire digital services specialists without prior notice and various rules governing hiring in particular agencies.

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