The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) is launching a second annual survey in a bid to drive greater diversity in the cybersecurity sector.
Developed in partnership with KPMG UK, the 2021 Diversity and Inclusion Survey for the UK Cyber Workforce aims to improve understanding of disability and neurodiversity in the workforce to better spot where improvements are needed.
According to the results of the inaugural report, Decrypting Diversity 2020, there’s still a long way to go in the sector.
It revealed that one in five respondents do not feel they can be themselves at work, while 41% of black cybersecurity professionals felt they’d experienced discrimination because of their ethnicity over the previous year. A further 14% of respondents said they’d experienced barriers to career progression as a result of diversity and inclusion issues.
Part of the problem seems to be transparency: nearly three-quarters (74%) of negative incidents as a result of diversity and inclusion are not reported.
New benchmarks in this year’s study will capture key data on disability, neurodiversity, location of workplace, employer size and seniority.
The hope is that with this extra information, improvements can be made to encourage a wider range of individuals to choose a career within the sector — one experiencing major skills shortages. Currently, there’s a global shortfall of over three million professionals.
The NCSC said cybersecurity leaders need to be more accountable for diversity and inclusion among their workforce and the industry as a whole needs to absorb best practice more effectively from within and outside the sector.
“Our second Decrypting Diversity survey will help us 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,” said NCSC CEO, Lindy Cameron.
“We know that a welcoming community and greater diversity leads to more innovation and better outcomes for the UK, and the NCSC is committed to helping transform the cybersecurity sector into an exemplar of best practice.”
Those wishing to participate can access the survey here.