Diversity and Inclusivity have been a point of discussion in the cyber sector for over a decade now. There have been several government and private sector led initiatives over the years trying to further improve the diversity in the cyber sector. We all agree that diversity adds strength to any cyber team. However, there are still several barriers and challenges that ethnic minorities in the UK are still facing when either trying to get into the cyber sector or when they are looking at career progression within the sector.
The Ethnic Minority in Cyber (EMiC) network is a pilot network supported by Department of Digital, Culture Media & Sport (DCMS)
The University of Wolverhampton have been leading the pilot network with other partners and took an active role in creating a series of student training workshops for ethnic minority students to support their career development. Over 300 students registered for the four sessions. Cyber Quarter was one of the partners involved in the delivery of these workshops of the network and was also involved in leading the delivery of the EMiC Flagship event - The ‘Symposium on Cyber Strength through Diversity (Ethnicity)’, held at the Edgbaston Park Hotel in Birmingham on 28 April 2022. The event was attended by cyber professionals from industry, government, and academia. It consisted of selected talks and a facilitated workshop that not just looked at key challenges and perceptions of the cyber sector, but also how some possible solutions that could be developed.
The Keynote speech was delivered by Simon Hepburn, CEO of the UK Cyber Security Council, who emphasised the importance of diversity in cyber teams and the steps the Council are taking on further supporting this. Andrew Elliot, Deputy Director Cyber Security, DCMS also presented the different initiatives the government has taken over the years and how they have helped improve the diversity in the cyber sector.
Our very own Professor Prashant Pillai, Centre Director Cyber Quarter and Associate Dean University of Wolverhampton, who is the Steering Group Co-Chair for the EMiC network said, “The was a successful event that was well attended and received excellent feedback. It has not only made us all think about some of the key aspects but has also got several key leaders of the sector to support the network by pledging to become an EMiC mentor. The network will not only help people who want to get into cyber or those who are looking at career growth but will also help businesses to bring diversity into their cyber teams. We are aiming to make this a national network and are planning several activities and events over the next year.”
On 3 May 2022, DCMS published the 2022 Cyber Security Skills in the UK Labour Market report, which highlights 25% of the workforce came from ethnic minority background. More information can be also found in the Joint report between the NCSC and KPMG UK called Decrypting Diversity: Diversity and Inclusion in Cyber Security.