Magazine Button
Embrace gender diversity in security and risk management roles

Embrace gender diversity in security and risk management roles

AnalysisEnterprise SecurityTop Stories

Diverse teams provide an immediate and long-lasting solution to the global shortage of security talent says Roberta Witty, VP Analyst, Gartner.  

For every 100 security and risk management (SRM) executives, only about a quarter of them are women. The good news is that as the benefits of diversity are more widely realised, that number will increase by nearly 15% by 2020.

“While this makes for pretty sober reading, the good news is that the general workforce pipeline has a more balanced male-to-female ratio, meaning that over time, it’s likely that there will be more female leaders in the discipline,” said Roberta Witty, VP Analyst, Gartner.  

Roberta Witty, VP Analyst, Gartner

Gender-diverse and inclusive teams outperform gender-homogeneous, less-inclusive teams by an average of 50%

The Gartner Gender Diversity in Security and Risk Management Survey explored how gender diversity impacts the ability of an organisation to manage its security and risk management objectives.

Recruit diverse teams and outperform others

Gender-diverse and inclusive teams outperform gender-homogeneous, less-inclusive teams by an average of 50%. Recent Gartner research found that managers of inclusive technology teams were more likely to say their teams outperformed non-inclusive teams in all seven measures studied, including implementing new ideas and making timely decisions.

Early exposure to security and risk management disciplines develops more qualified candidates and provides professional support for gender parity. Gartner recommends that companies target women while they’re still in school to sell them on a career in security and risk management.  

“Grow the general workforce pipeline for security and risk management by partnering with primary, secondary and higher educational institutions to introduce young women to the security and risk management professions,” said Witty. “Do not focus only on technical educational programmes; approach liberal arts and communications academic programmes to ensure that females understand the value of a security and risk management career choice.”

Retain diverse talent

Women find security and risk management professions to be excellent career paths, according to the survey. However, concerted efforts must be taken to retain them; otherwise, women may leave their positions to find a transparent and supportive work environment elsewhere.

Respondents believe sponsoring and mentoring high-potential women will improve the recruitment and retention of women in security and risk management. Diversity task forces are extremely important, but mandatory diversity training, job tests and grievance systems are not perceived as beneficial for organisational diversity.

People want to work where they know they will be accepted and respected for their unique background

Implement gender-blind recruiting practices and training to mitigate gender discrimination and use retention practices that promote women to top leadership and executive positions. Providing work-life balance practices such as flexible work hours is a competitive differentiator in the labour market that can improve the retention and recruitment of women.

People want to work where they know they will be accepted and respected for their unique background, skills and knowledge. It is a win-win situation for all parties. These efforts will contribute to the vast majority of organisations that will exceed their financial targets through 2022 by equipping frontline decision-making teams with a diverse and inclusive culture.

Gartner is holding the Gartner Security & Risk Summit in Dubai on October 28 and 29. Click here to find out more.

Browse our latest issue

Magazine Cover

View Magazine Archive