Study looks at gender dimensions of AU security sector

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RMIT University in partnership with the Australian Women in Security Network is undertaking a new study to explore solutions to address pressing skills and diversity challenges in Australia’s security sector, first by exploring important gender dimensions.

Australia needs an additional 7000 practitioners in the cyber security sector alone by 2024, according to AustCyber.

Given the growing awareness of the benefits of diversity for organizational performance, decision-making and responding to real-world challenges, the lack of skills and diversity in the cyber security sector also implies that the sector is not functioning as optimally as it could.

“Currently available estimates suggest that women make up between 11% and 24% of the cyber security workforce, there is no robust measure of the gender composition of the Australian security industry, and no clear picture of the types of jobs women do and skills. they own,” says director of the RMIT Cyber ​​Security Research and Innovation Centre, Professor Matt Warren.

“This study will aim to provide a more robust and definitive assessment of gender diversity within the security workforce,” he says.

AWSN CEO Jacqui Loustau says the study will allow AWSN to assess the impact of its initiatives.

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

AWSN’s participation in the study was made possible by sponsorship support from the Australian Signals Directorate, one of Australia’s largest national security agencies.

RMIT economist and research team member Dr Leonora Rise says the research project would also provide a deeper understanding of the barriers and enablers to women’s careers in the security sector.

“The insights gained from the research project will be valuable in expanding the talent sector and equipping it for the growing challenges and demands it will face in the future,” she says.

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

“The project provides insight into a better understanding of the factors that can support or deter women from pursuing and flourishing careers in the security sector.”

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

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