How a Top 4 global accounting firm is tackling the Cyber Security Skills Gap

The US-based Cyber Security division at one of the largest global accounting and professional services firms has been growing at an unprecedented rate. From hundreds of employees a few years ago, to over a thousand in 2021.

It was the North American Cyber division Principal that advocated a skills-based approach within the organization. His goal was to find a way to measure, track, and report on skills data in a scalable and agile way to better understand the Cyber Security team’s skill gaps and strengths.

Before implementing Skills Base, a spreadsheet-based tool was used to track skills, and evaluate employees on their competencies. But as their skills taxonomy continued to grow at an exponential rate and a more dynamic and granular approach to skills tracking was needed, spreadsheets couldn’t keep up.

“Skills Base hits the sweet spot in tracking the granularity of skills needed, in a scalable and dynamic way to keep up with the pace of the Cyber Security industry”

Principal, Cyber Security

Having a centralized view of skills data across the division has meant that Cyber Security skills gaps and strengths can be easily analyzed and reported on. This means that it has become a key data source for supporting many people-driven business decisions from hiring and recruitment, training, and internal mobility through to resource allocation.

“The way we’re now tracking and managing skills data is being used to make critical business decisions. We wouldn’t be able to do what we’re doing now strategically without Skills Base and a skills-based approach.“

Principal, Cyber Security

There were a few “must-haves” when it came to selecting a skills management tool. It needed to be a cloud based solution which implemented globally leading security and data management measures. It needed to work on any device and provide an intuitive interface for employee skill evaluations. It needed to support Single Sign On through Microsoft Active Directory and easily integrate with the existing SAP Success Factors tech stack.

With the successful implementation of Skills Base and subsequent onboarding of employees, the Cyber Security division has been able to achieve significant outcomes across 5 key areas of the business.

Hiring at Scale to close the cyber security skills gap

As the business has gone through exponential growth, there simply weren’t enough people in the organization to upskill, or reskill. By using Skills Base to help identify the Cyber Security skills gap within the organization, they have been able to provide hyper-targeted skill requirements to the HR and talent selection teams.

“We’re using Skills Base to support the hiring of another 100 staff to support our rapid growth. The data is helping me go to my executive team to justify the expense and more importantly the skills needed for the business to remain competitive, and resilient.“

Principal, Cyber Security

Using skill strengths to deliver more customer value

The consulting division is another rapidly growing part of the organization. Many existing customers, and new customers rely on the Cyber Security team to provide cutting edge innovation across strategy, cloud migration, risk mitigation, and much more.

The experience management team is in charge of understanding customer requirements, and then finding people within the organization to deliver projects at the highest quality. Before Skills Base, the team would have to trawl through CVs that might be five years old or rely on the knowledge of certain managers.

Skills Base has helped to reduce the sense of “tribal knowledge”. Rather than the understanding of skills being locked away in individuals’ heads, managers now have a central location to source skilled, Cyber Security candidates from.

“Our Experience management team can now find the granular skills of our Cyber Security team needed to win more contracts and deliver the cutting edge innovation our customers expect from us.“

Principal, Cyber Security

Skills Base has provided a skills-based approach to resource allocation that can identify the latest skills in the Cyber Security practice at the granularity needed to deliver the cutting edge innovation for their customers.

Targeted Training to Close the Cyber Security Skill Gap

The Cyber Security team has consistently been committed to training and learning and development. This has not only been to improve the employee experience and career outcomes, but also ensure that the division has the skilled professionals required to deliver on the business strategy.

“We’ve been able to understand the skills gaps of our technical areas, and collaboratively work with our team to better define their training requirements for the job, and for future business skill needs.“

Principal, Cyber Security

Skills Base has allowed the Cyber Security team to become more focused in their training efforts. A detailed understanding of skills has helped to create training pathways that are bespoke to each employee. These trends can then be objectively discussed during performance reviews so that employees and managers can be held accountable in an objective way.

Training Investment strategy aligned to the skill gaps

The executive team understands and supports the need to have the right skills in the business now, and an understanding of the skills needed for future success.

With Skills Base, the Cyber Security leaders are able to benchmark the current skills profile of the organization, and then use that data to support budget planning across training, recruitment and L&D.

“I am able to link the revenue generating project skill needs, with the competency levels across the Cyber Security division. This shows the skills gaps, and gives me the data needed to secure an adequate training budget.”

Principal, Cyber Security

This has not only provided another data point to support an increase in investment, but can be directly aligned to strategy and improving business success.

Employee experience & Internal Mobility

In some cases employees within the Cyber Security team were overlooked when it came to their skill set and interests to develop in certain areas. They would often stick to what they were hired for, and be restricted by their degrees or qualifications.

Skills Base has allowed more visibility into not only the skill levels, but also the skill interests of each employee. This means that people have more control over their own progression within the Cyber Security practice.

This has not only driven greater diversity across the talent pool, it has also created opportunities to move freely within the practice area and create cross functional teams.

“We can find the needle in the haystack. Now, we can support employees better, give them the training they want, and give them opportunities that are more meaningful to them.“

Principal, Cyber Security

Visibility in skills has also opened the doors to greater collaboration across the business where it’s easier to find mentors and coaches who are skilled in certain areas.

It's time to understand, measure and act on your cyber security skill gaps.


Ready to start benefiting from skills management? Book your free 30-minute meeting with a skills expert today. 

A Skills Base Whitepaper

The Skills Base Methodology
A Framework for Skills-Based Organizations and Teams