Women in Cyber Security – the State of Play

4 March 2024

Despite the historically low representation of women in the cyber security sector, encouraging strides have been made in recent times. There is always a lag in meaningful data, but best estimates put female participation rates at around 19%, representing a welcome rise in participation rates since the 2021 census.

A interesting statistic from a recent study conducted by RMIT and Australian Women in Security Network (AWSN) noted that women take more circuitous routes into the industry with a wider variety of educational credentials. About 50% of females in the industry have an IT qualification, as opposed to 65% of men. Cyber security is a broad discipline and includes many employees who are either self-taught or enter the sector via other areas of study.

The sector is largely performance-driven, and employers are generally looking for demonstrable competence, which may not be contingent upon specific academic achievements. A competent and motivated employee with a science degree is just as likely, for instance, to progress through the ranks as an IT degree holder.       

The same report highlighted that only 27% of women in cyber reported having a female role model or mentor, as opposed to more than 50% of males. This is to be expected based on the overall raw participation numbers but does highlight the importance of networking events and initiatives. Intalock Security Engineer Isabella Baker reported that she was confident that female role models were out there if proactively searched. 

Australian Women in Security Network (AWSN) Founder and Executive Director, Jacqui Loustau recently said, “To protect all Australians, the security workforce needs all types of people thinking innovatively, stopping threats, and advocating for security.”

At Intalock, we have noticed that a diverse set of minds produces superior problem-solving results and have actively recruited on this basis. By way of analogy, a financial firm that is staffed by graduates of the same business college may produce predictably linear investment decisions. Similarly, a group of security analysts and engineers that is lacking in diversity may struggle to view a complex problem by utilising sufficient points of perception.

To help women enter the industry Intalock is partnering with AWSN and the Australian Information Security Association (AISA) to advance employment opportunities. We celebrate diversity within our team and are committed to achieving the best possible business outcomes by tapping a diverse pool of human talent.

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