Cybersecurity and Hiring Gen Z Candidates

by | Mar 29, 2022

Our next generation of workers will be inheriting a much-changed world: from the mass cultural upheaval caused by COVID to entire workplaces built around circular economic practices, the best and brightest of our Gen Z talent pool have a challenge ahead of them. They are also inheriting a world riven with cybercrime, expanding networks, and legacy systems incapable of securing data, online businesses, or identities. 


Gen Z youth workers are our very first digital natives – a generation of people born into a digitally-connected world, where their digital life and physical life seamlessly intertwine, and where their natural digital presence – and knowledge of digital systems – dwarfs that of other generations. 


In this context, Gen Z workers will be more reliant on, and much more present on, digital and social networks. For enterprise owners and business people within the tech sphere, this naturally-digital workforce may be able to help shore up a huge talent shortfall in one, essential, industry – cybersecurity. Considering the enormous, and rising, amount of cybercrime that industries face across the world, the time is now to start building Gen Z hiring practices that take advantage of digital nativism. 


But how do cyber security employers open their doors to Gen Z workers, and what do they need to consider when factoring in Gen Z demands from their workplace? 

Is simply offering a great salary enough?


What do Gen Z workers want?


  • “​​Generation Z values salary less than every other generation: If given the choice of accepting a better-paying but boring job versus work that was more interesting but didn’t pay as well, Gen Z was fairly evenly split over the choice…(but) to win the hearts of Generation Z, companies and employers will need to highlight their efforts to be good global citizens. And actions speak louder than words: Companies must demonstrate their commitment to a broader set of societal challenges such as sustainability, climate change, and hunger”.


The above quote from Deloitte’s perspective piece Understanding Generation Z in the workplace should tell you everything you need to know about Gen Z workers and why they work. This is reflected in cyber careers. 


Gen Z workers in every industry want to build careers based on equity, sustainability, fairness, and purpose. They want to work for something, not simply a paycheque or a job role. They want to see their values reflected in the values of their employers. 


There is no other way around it – to engage with younger workers, even the tech-savvy cyber security professionals you seek, your brand, company values, and company purpose need to be visible, targeted and meaningful.

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What to keep in mind when hiring Gen Z Cyber Security candidates

Lead with Diversity.


  • According to…research: “Gen Z is the most ethnically and racially diverse generation in history: one in four is Hispanic, 14% are African-American and 6% are Asian. And their views on gender and identity are unprecedented and untraditional: Gen Z refuses to turn ethnicity and race into checkboxes on a survey form”.


  • Younger workers have come of age amid unique social justice movements – from BLM to Occupy – and as such are one of the most politically and culturally engaged workforces ever. 


Digital Nativism.


  • “(Gen Z workers) are used to instant, virtual connection, which they routinely use to form and build relationships. Your organisation, therefore, needs to provide the platforms and opportunities that enable them to quickly access information and establish virtual connections while at work…but research shows that 45 percent of Gen Z and employed Millennials said they had never worked remotely before the pandemic, so give them the support they need to get up and running quickly.”


  • While cybersecurity talent will be more connected and more digitally present than most, they still want and need, to be onboarded with care, and given the opportunity to build relationships with co-workers akin to any other generation.

They want to change the world


  • “Just one example of Gen Z’s notable commitment to transforming the world is the decision…of more than 30,000 French students from over 300 universities to sign a pledge to only work for environmentally conscious companies”.

Cybersecurity firms have a unique chance to engage with young tech workers by leveraging the importance of cybersecurity to our way of life, and its centrality to improving our future.

How to lead Gen Z, our next-gen leaders


Focus on Ethics


  • If the above has taught you anything, it’s that Gen Z workers want their employers to operate with vision, and for this vision to be led by sustainable ethics. 


  • Considering the lack of ethics in cybercrime, taking a lead on ethical cybersecurity working culture will give your brand the leverage it needs to hire the best in class. 


Create attractive Employer Value Propositions


  • Your EVP is the single most effective communicative tool at your disposal when it comes to hiring tech (or any) talent. Your EVP needs to be clear and concise in communicating your company purpose, and in why working for you is a good thing for a candidate’s career. This will show engaged, employee-focused leadership. 


  • Gen Z team leaders need to be able to prove they stand by their word and purpose, and a well-crafted EVP does this perfectly. 


Lead with empathy


  • Above all other leadership traits, Gen Z (and, actually, almost every other demographic) demand more empathy in management. Employees want to be heard; they want to be understood; and they want to know their employers are looking out for them, rather than simply using them for profit.

  • When working in cybersecurity, empathetic leadership manifests as supportive and understanding work cultures. Your Gen Z talent will be working incredibly hard, often against very sophisticated malware creators. So you need to be able to lead, and listen, to your teams when the going gets tough.


Need help in finding tech talents for a Singapore-based company? You can count on Datasearch Consulting to lend you a hand. 


While the talent market has undoubtedly become more competitive for both recruiters and HR professionals, we remain dedicated to connecting our partners with the right tech or IT talent. 


Connect with us at Datasearch Consulting for more information about our recruitment solutions for tech companies and functions.

Salma Kazi is an Associate at Datasearch Consulting, a leading executive recruitment firm specialising in the Financial Technology & Data sectors.

You can download their FREE comprehensive guide on “The Complete Guide to Hiring Fintech & Data Talent – 5 Proven Steps to Secure the Best Candidates Possible” hereAlternatively you can view the Datasearch Consulting website or contact them directly on for a more detailed discussion.

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