National Cyber Security Centre
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NCSC study reveals concerns about inclusivity of security sector

The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) has revealed the results of its first official analysis of diversity and inclusion in the UK’s cyber security industry.

Conducted in partnership with KPMG, a survey of more than 1,200 security professionals found that just 31 per cent are female. But it also revealed that at 10 per cent, LGB representation was around four times higher than the UK average (2.2 per cent) and that the ethnic diversity is broadly in line with the general population.

Despite this, the survey highlighted a number of concerns around inclusivity. Only 41 per cent of Black, African, Caribbean or Black British respondents said they felt confident in their identity at work, compared to three in four white respondents. The survey also found that only 74 per cent of negative incidents linked to diversity were reported. Of those that were reported, just 24 per cent were “fully resolved”.

The report also raises concerns about the socioeconomic backgrounds of those working in the industry. “Comparing the results of the survey to 2020 figures for England published by the Department for Education shows those working in cyber security tend not to come from a lower socio-economic background, with a greater proportion having attended fee-paying schools,” it states. While 6 per cent of the population at large have attended private schools, that figure rises to 12 per cent in the security sector, according to the survey.

NCSC

Ciaran Martin, the outgoing chief executive of NCSC, said: “It cannot be right that in the year 2020 there are still people within our industry who feel they can’t be themselves or who face discrimination because of who they are and this report should drive our determination to act.

“There is far more to do on diversity and inclusion and the NCSC is determined to be a leader in this field, but a cross sector effort is required to get this right. I urge all cyber security leaders to read the report and act on it.”

The survey comes just days after an exclusive NS Tech analysis revealed that the boardrooms of the UK’s largest technology companies are predominantly white and male. Women make up fewer than one in five tech companies officers and the vast majority are British or from majority-white ethnicities.

Commenting on the results, Anne-Marie Imafidon, founder of Stemettes, which supports young women into Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths said: “The UK IT, Data and Tech scene is not just struggling on the female front, but also on the Black front. In recent years we’ve seen more prominence given to debate and discussion on women in tech, yet behavioural change is still lagging for us to see the meaningful change at the top that the industry and society deserves.”