It’s no secret that the tech industry is dominated by men and has been widely criticized for its lack of diversity in terms of minorities and women. However, for the Millennial generation, which is larger and more diverse than any generation, this lack of diversity is can be viewed as less of a setback and more as an opportunity.
Increasing a more diverse workforce
Historically speaking, much of the public has been kept in the dark as to the makeup of the cybersecurity workforce. But now, more and more companies have been releasing their diversity statistics in full force. Unsurprisingly, employees are mostly white men with few women (11%) and minorities (12%). Luckily this new-found transparency has spurred companies to pledge to add more women and minorities to their ranks. This is a smart move by the cybersecurity industry since everyone uses technology including, of course, women and people of color. As minority groups are users and consumers of technology, it is imperative that they should also be involved in the creation processes.
With a potential shortfall of qualified cybersecurity professionals estimated at 1.5 million by 2019, the industry will be focused on finding and fostering new talent from recently untapped pools. Because of this, many companies are focusing on improving the pipeline by working harder to retain qualified women by eliminating gender pay gaps or implementing generous family leave policies. Additionally, other organizations are trying to eliminate bias from the hiring and promotion process and recruiting through new and unique channels.
What else can be done?
One thing most experts can agree on is that companies must build a culture in which everyone feels that they can be challenged to do their best work and rewarded accordingly regardless of their race, gender or orientation. Questions your organization can ask itself include:
- Do new employees immediately feel like they belong?
- Does the organization have a strong, inclusive culture that begins at the top and cascades to the rest of the company?
Though creating a diverse environment and culture within an organization is a great step; it’s only half the equation. Companies must partner with relevant groups outside the organization, like communities of professionals who represent diversity groups, to help fill their own talent pools with a diverse range of candidates. Additionally, these groups can provide feedback on diversity initiatives so that they are relevant to the groups who are being targeted.
What initiatives has your company undertaken to increase its diversity? Do you feel like the cybersecurity and tech industry is behind in attracting a diverse talent pool? Share your thoughts below!