How companies can attract diverse candidates into cybersecurity jobs

At RSA 2019, Alicia Jessip of TEKsystems explained why it’s important for security teams to include women and underrepresented minorities.

At RSA 2019, TechRepublic Senior Editor Alison DeNisco Rayome spoke with Alicia Jessip of TEKsystems about why it’s important for security teams to include women and underrepresented minorities. The following is an edited transcript.

Alison DeNisco Rayome: We know that a lot of companies are facing this shortage of cybersecurity professionals right now but we also know there are not many women or minorities in the field. Can you explain a little bit why companies should be looking to kind of diversify and get new talent in?

Alicia Jessip: Absolutely. So the need to diversify and expand on hiring is at the very minimum, it’s the right thing to do. We also know from data and studies that the more diversity you can have in the workplace is ultimately going to enhance your bottom line from an ROI standpoint and also really enhance your product because you’re bringing together a vast pool or diverse individuals, it’s only going to cascade into diversity of thought, therefore improving things as it relates to your business or business strategy, et cetera.

SEE: Hiring kit: Chief diversity officer (Tech Pro Research)

Alison DeNisco Rayome: And what are some things that companies can do to make sure that they’re actually trying to target more diverse candidates?

Alicia Jessip: As it relates to what companies can be doing to attract and retain diverse talent, there are a myriad of things that companies can be doing. The first thing that I would suggest any company that would reach out and ask this question, hey Alicia, how do we go about hiring more diverse talent? I would say you have to really, really understand your market and you really have to understand, currently, your organization. Is it reflective? Is it representing the current market that we live and operate within? And if it’s not, that might be a good starting point from a metrics standpoint. From there, I mean there are various associations, there are universities and colleges you can be partnering with, there are tools that can even actually look at the job description you have and how to remove and eliminate some of the biases you have. So those are just a few things that companies and organizations can be doing to really focus and begin the wheel of trying to hire diverse talent.

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