In this international women’s day, we are called to #BreakTheBias and imagine a gender equal world.
What is the situation in Cybersecurity and what can employers do about to help foster a world that is just, equitable, diverse and inclusive (JEDI)?
Fact 1. Cybersecurity is a field dominated by male (76%) and Caucasian (72%) workers, according to the (ISC)² Cybersecurity Workforce Study (2021). Women in cybersecurity are estimated at 25% only.
In the UK, the Cyber security skills in the UK labour market 2021 tell us that the presence of women, ethnic minorities, disabled and neurodivergent people, is minimal.
Fact 2. There is a reported cybersecurity staffing shortage. 60% of participants of the ISC study, said that this places their organisations at risk.
Fact 3. Teams are known to benefit from increased diversity, however, this is particularly true in a field in which the threats and risks are so diverse. Having people from different backgrounds is more likely to increase diversity of thought and, ultimately, better protection against cybersecurity risks.
Increasing the number of women employed in cybersecurity roles would address the shortage and the diversity issues. How can employers do this?
The answer to this will depend on the context of each organisation, but we thought it would be useful to share some of the actions that we are doing as a small business. At Cybility Consulting, we are a small and unique team (women, black, latina, immigrant, disabled) in an industry that needs to be more diverse. As such, we are committed to #BreakTheBias.
These are some ways that we are doing this:
- Upskilling women - It is accepted that employers should hire for attitude and aptitude and then train for technical skills. So, we make sure that our staff have, within their working hours, time to train and study. We invest in subscriptions of Cybersecurity, IT and Professional skills platforms that provide online learning and training.
- Work experience - We actively engage in apprenticeship and traineeship schemes supporting candidates with diverse backgrounds.
- Mentoring - Sharing our experience with those new to the field is an effective way to upskill people, not only in technical skills, but with their career plans, soft skills and networking. We offer this both as a paid service to organisations and free to some individuals (https://bit.ly/CybilityMentor).
- Work your way - we provide flexible working conditions for when, where and how we work.
- Responsible employer - we pay our people above the living wage and train them in our rights and responsibilities under the Equalities Act.
If you are a business leader committed to break the bias in cyber security, check out the Women in Cybersecurity’s resources: https://www.wicys.org/events/wicys-2022/