Despite the tremendous business growth, the cyber industry has left women behind. The military numerical advantage of men is also preserved in citizenship, and women find it difficult to integrate into the field. So what can be done?
According to Geek time Israel
Here is a pretty amazing detail: 31% of all cyber companies in the world are located in Israel. According to the national cyber system, in 2020 Israel invested almost three billion dollars in cyber, and this trend is not expected to change in the coming years either.
Israel has the highest percentage of cyber companies per capita in the world, and there is really no doubt anymore: we are a leading country in the field. And not only that – if you look at Israelis who have moved abroad and lead cyber security companies, the numbers show that they lead about 45% of the total cyber industry.
But despite the tremendous business growth (yes, even in the corona year), cyber has left women behind: if we have seen a growing female presence in high-tech in recent years, then in cybersecurity, despite the slight improvement, the percentage of women in the information security industry remains significantly lower. For comparison, the average number of women in all high-tech fields is 32%, and in the cyber security industry a few percent.
The flowers for the IDF
In cyber, as in other high-tech fields, the highest-quality manpower usually comes from the military system, and especially from technological units such as the 8200, MMRAM and ZAV. In these units the percentage of men is higher than the percentage of women, which directly affects the number of women with relevant experience. What preserves this situation in civilian life as well is the “friend brings friend” recruitment method, since most of the workers come from military units with a male majority in the first place.
This is one of the reasons why women themselves are keeping their feet off the field, due to the very operational side of cyber security, which they do not know well enough.
Despite the openness and willingness to produce diversity, the cyber security environment is still characterized by a clear male majority. Mountains of words have already been written about the integration of women in high-tech and the great value that diverse populations bring to the success of every company, but while many industries in high-tech the situation is improving – in cyber security the gap is noticeable.
So what can be done? It is possible to start with an active search for women and their recruitment in the field being in the work plans of each manager. Cyber companies need to set the recruitment of women as a strategic goal, which must be examined and measured at the level of the CEO and the board of directors.
But this is not enough: Managers need to analyze the difficulties of women to integrate into the field and make it accessible. There are quite a few ways to do this: unique “friend brings company” programs, flexible jobs that will allow women either free time or family, building roles for the individual to join according to individual needs and converting and training women from other high-tech fields to cyber.
Common Manpower call
The shortage of manpower in Israel in the technological field today requires the use of creative tools.
The cyber industry will continue to grow, but without working hands Israel will lose its competitive technological advantage. The state understands this, but programs to encourage high school students to enter the field, or institutional subsidy to develop programs to promote women in the field, are still lacking. The government should prioritize such programs for girls even before military service and citizenship.
At the same time, it needs to provide incentives and assistance to companies that absorb and integrate women in the industry. These measures will encourage more and more women, and diverse populations in general, to aspire there and get to work in high-tech companies in general and cyber security in particular.
Recently, news was published about the government’s intention to allow programmers to migrate from other countries to Israel, in order to close the gap created in the industry and to take control of the surging tide in the wages of high-tech workers. Instead, in my opinion, it is possible to retrain thousands of engineers in the high-tech industry, in just 6-12 months and with a government subsidy, to train them for the various industries.
At the same time, the absorption of those engineers into the labor market should be subsidized for an additional 6 months to allow the Israeli workforce to align and complete the required learning curve and begin to provide the expected outputs from them. This, among other things, will enable women and minorities to move forward and enjoy the fruits of the success of the Israeli cyber industry.
Protecting the lives and digital entity of us all has long been a national task, and the field of cyber security is at the forefront of Israeli technology and creativity. Integrating diverse populations into it is of paramount importance, and the entire economy will benefit from it.
Taken this subject because related to Women skills development .