Businesses consistently make cybersecurity a top priority, but most cybersecurity teams feel they lack the resources and staff to effectively protect corporate data. According to (ISC), in 2022, the cybersecurity workforce faced a gap of about 3.4 million people worldwide.2 study.
One solution to the cybersecurity skills shortage is to diversify the hiring pool. The employment pool is still predominantly white and remains mostly male.2021 Aspen Institute Survey on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) in Cybersecurity We found that 4% of cybersecurity employees are Hispanic, 13% are Black, and 21% are female.
Despite industry-wide efforts to make technology a more equitable and inclusive field, these numbers show how homogeneous the industry is.
Breaking Down Barriers in Cybersecurity Employment Practices
A major problem lies in corporate hiring practices, said Marcy Klipfel, chief engagement officer at benefits management technology provider Businessolver.
DEI programs and affinity groups can help with positive retention, but companies often struggle to find diverse candidates in the first place. When hiring managers focus on replacing former employees without considering the value of different skill sets, backgrounds, or work experience, they are more likely to hire white men. “Within cybersecurity, there are several things going on. Women working in cybersecurity are already underwhelmed by the double stress of working in an incredibly stressful field. I am quitting my job at a reasonable rate. The second stressor is that they are in the minority in the field,” Klipfel said.
Technology has the advantage of remote work, allowing recruiters to find employees from different geographies. Additionally, remote work gives employees the flexibility to work from anywhere, removes commuting barriers and sometimes rigid working hours.
Empowering underrepresented groups through mentorship and training
Long-term and short-term investments are required if companies are serious about creating a diverse, equitable and inclusive workforce. Long-term investments include supporting organizations that empower people of color, queer people and women, such as Black Girls Code, Code 2040, Dev Color and Maven Youth. The goal is to create a more inclusive tech industry where we can see an underrepresented group of individuals reflected in our corporate culture.
Klipfel said that if an organization is unable to find a diverse pool of candidates, it should consider investing in employees with similar skill sets but not necessarily standard experience and mentoring them from within. I suggested there is.
Mentorship and intentional training can reduce the uniformity of perspectives within your workforce. This becomes especially important in cybersecurity, a field rooted in rapidly evolving risk responses. “Hackers are getting smarter and smarter,” he says Klipfel. “We need people who come to the table and have a different type of thinking. They keep us safe and the risks are very low.”
Live according to company values
Empathy is essential to fostering an equitable workforce. “You have to continually seek feedback from your employees. You have to ask: Do they relate to their manager? Does their manager bring empathy to the table?” Klipfel said. “Instead, employees should ask: ‘Am I in an inclusive environment? Do I feel respected?'”
Company culture is shaped by each employee. However, company leadership has a great deal of power when it comes to whether a company acts in accordance with its cultural values. “When it comes to an inclusive culture, everyone has to own it,” said Klipfel. “that’s why [Businessolver has] People sign a pledge when they join the company. They pledge to live by our values of creating an environment that is especially empathetic and inclusive, as we must place that importance on everyone who represents our brand. Otherwise, it’s just talk. ”