What are the barriers to women in the security sector? 


Do you work in the security industry? Your input is needed for a new study looking into how many women work in the sector and what kind of jobs and skills they have.


According to AustCyber - the Australian Cyber Security Growth Network (AustCyber) there’s a severe shortage of job-ready cyber security workers, with an extra 7000 specialists needed by 2024. 

RMIT University in partnership with the Australian Women in Security Network (AWSN) is undertaking a study to look at ways the security sector can address these skills and diversity challenges.

“Current available estimates suggest that women comprise somewhere between 11% and 24% of the cybersecurity workforce, there is no robust measure of the gender composition of Australia’s security industry, or a clear picture of the types of jobs that women are undertaking and the skills they possess,” said Director of the RMIT Centre for Cyber Security Research & Innovation, Professor Matt Warren. 

“This study will aim to give a more robust and definitive estimate of the gender diversity within the security workforce.” he said 

ASWN Executive Director, Jacqui Loustau, said the study will allow AWSN to assess the impact of its initiatives. 

“By having a baseline and a clearer picture of the actual number of women working in the security industry, it will allow us to measure the success of initiatives to attract, support and retain women in the industry,” she said. 

The AWSN’s involvement in the study has been sponsored by the Australian Signals Directorate, one of Australia’s peak national security agencies. 

RMIT Economist and research team member, Dr Leonora Risse, added that the research project would also provide “a deeper understanding of the barriers and enablers to women’s careers in the security sector.” 

“The insights generated by the research project will be valuable for expanding the sector’s talent pool and equipping it for the growing challenges and demands it faces in the future,” she said. 

“While existing research suggests general ways to expand the sector’s talent pool, there is little focus on gender inequalities and the factors that explain women’s low representation in the sector,” Risse added. 

“This project provides insights to better understand the factors that can either support or deter women from pursuing, and flourishing in, a career in the security sector.” 

Professor Warren encouraged all members of the security workforce, including physical security, personnel security, information security, cyber security, and security governance, and across all genders, to complete the survey. 

Further information and a link to the survey can be found HERE

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