Brian Sims

Neurodiversity and disability frame survey on UK cyber security sector

INDUSTRY CHIEFS are continuing their drive to improve the diversity of talent working in the cyber security realm by launching the second survey for those individuals working diligently within the sector.

This year’s survey, which is being conducted by the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) and KPMG UK, has been expanded to capture new benchmarks on disability, neurodiversity, location of the workplace, employer size and seniority.

This latest study will build on the results of last year’s inaugural report, which revealed that the sector doesn’t benefit from the breadth of talent of the UK’s rich and diverse communities, particularly so given its lack of inclusivity across gender, sexual orientation, social mobility and ethnicity.

Data from this year’s survey, running under the banner ‘Decrypting Diversity 2021: Diversity and Inclusion in Cyber Security’, will be used to identify and act on the areas needing further improvement as part of an overall objective to encourage a wide range of individuals to choose a career within the sector.

Collective understanding

Lindy Cameron, CEO of the NCSC, said: “The cyber security industry plays a vital role in keeping us all safe, but we know that it doesn’t reflect the communities it serves. Our second Decrypting Diversity study will help us to build on the collective understanding of where the sector is falling short, allowing us to break down barriers to ensure that there are opportunities for all.”

Cameron added: “We know that a welcoming community and greater diversity leads to more innovation and better outcomes for the UK. For its part, the NCSC is committed to helping transform the cyber security sector into an exemplar of Best Practice.”

The recommendations from last year’s report – which are published and available to view on the NCSC’s website – urged cyber security leaders to become accountable for diversity and inclusion within their organisations and for the industry to improve how it learns from Best Practice both within and outside of the sector.

The NCSC accepted all of the recommendations from that report and is taking a range of actions as a result, including the introduction of an outreach officer role which is designed to encourage people from under-represented communities to begin a career in the cyber security profession.

Driving positive change

Jonathon Gill, head of aerospace and defence at KPMG UK, observed: “Diversity and inclusivity must sit at the heart of our cyber security industry if it’s to continue to thrive, facilitating the representation of different experiences and world views and attracting the brightest talent from across society.”

Gill concluded: “This survey represents a continuation of our journey with the NCSC to uncover the opportunities that will drive positive change and further our roadmap focused on creating a more inclusive sector.”

The launch of this second survey represents the ongoing commitment from the NCSC and KPMG UK to transform the industry into an exemplar of Best Practice for diversity and inclusion. Evidence suggests that a more welcoming community leads to greater diversity, increased innovation and better outcomes, all of which help to provide greater security for the UK.

*All cyber security professionals are encouraged to take part. The survey can be accessed here and will take around ten minutes to complete. The window for responses will close later in the summer with a detailed analysis and recommendations published in September. The survey is anonymous and can be completed by anyone who currently works (or has worked) in the cyber security industry

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