The Australian Security Industry Workforce - Understanding Gender Dimensions Project Study

The Australian Security Industry Workforce - Understanding Gender Dimensions Project Study

It is widely observed that the Australian security industry is experiencing a skill crisis, with diversity being a key area of disparity. These challenges suggest that the sector is not operating as optimally as it could, given the growing evidence that a more diverse workforce brings greater innovative potential, strategic intellect and problem-solving capacity.

The study

RMIT University in partnership with the Australian Women in Security Network have explored these diversity challenges by surveying those in the sector. These responses in combination with ABS data from the 2006 – 2021 Census data looks to provide a rich insight into how far the sector has come, and the work still to be done.

This study aims to gain an accurate picture of the security industry workforce in Australia. The goal of this study is to identify practical ways to expand and diversify the industry’s talent pool to best equip it for the growing challenges and demands it faces.

The Report - 2023

The solutions to achieving gender equity are not clear-cut. Achieving gender equity is not just about striving to attract more women and under-represented cohorts into the sector; it’s about understanding the factors that deter them from joining or cause them to leave the sector. It’s about the sector committing to fostering a workforce culture that is genuinely inclusive and that embraces diversity as a strength and equity as a value.

The Gender Dimensions of the Australian Cyber Security Sector report gives the Australian cyber security sector a clearer picture of women’s representation and an understanding of the factors that enable and impede their career participation and advancement. Its recommendations for action point towards the importance of de-biasing work cultures and adopting evidence-based approaches to enhance inclusivity and diversity in the sector’s broad systems and culture.

Preliminary findings - 2022

The Preliminary Insights Report looks historically at the data and trends of the sector and why this research is so important.

You can also glean an insight into some of the statistics of women in the security industry from the slide deck which was presented by RMIT’s Dr Leonora Risse and Dr Maria Beamond at the AISA 2022 Cyber Conference in mid-October.

This project is a partnership between:

logo of centre for cyber security research and innovation
logo of australian women in security network

The AWSN’s involvement in the study has been facilitated through sponsorship support by the Australian Signals Directorate, Australia's foreign signals intelligence and security agency.

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Note: This article was originally published in October 2022 with the release of the preliminary findings, and was updated in March 2023 with the release of the final report.

31 March 2023


31 March 2023


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Acknowledgement of Country

RMIT University acknowledges the people of the Woi wurrung and Boon wurrung language groups of the eastern Kulin Nation on whose unceded lands we conduct the business of the University. RMIT University respectfully acknowledges their Ancestors and Elders, past and present. RMIT also acknowledges the Traditional Custodians and their Ancestors of the lands and waters across Australia where we conduct our business - Artwork 'Luwaytini' by Mark Cleaver, Palawa.