A combination of open minds and technology, building a culture of gender diversity in cybersecurity

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Advancing humanity and technology with The New Equation.
Where human meets digital, PwC’s Consulting Business is closing the technology recruitment gap by opening new career pathways for women in cybersecurity and digital trust. Women are vastly underrepresented in the cybersecurity industry, making up just 24% of the workforce.* In a field where women can and should contribute to the solutions that keep our world secure, it’s a gap we simply can’t ignore (*Aspen Institute Research).

PwC is committed to a culture of care and belonging. It’s a place for people to build their futures and a place that provides everyday support to learn and grow. Today, PwC Australia is proud to have achieved overall gender parity across our team. Now, our goal is to realise this at a partner level. At 32%, we’re on our way, but there’s more to do.

Celebrating meaningful careers

We believe gender diversity is critical to the strength of our business - and we’ve made significant progress in this area - as evidenced by the growth in the number of women in PwC leadership roles around the world. Delivering gender diversity at the partner level delivers a clear message to the world on the meaningful career opportunities emerging at the intersection of human and digital. Mobilising and empowering a more diverse and inclusive workforce within technology is an important step in helping to solve some of the most important problems facing society today, while opening opportunities for the next generation of diverse leaders globally. 


Delivering gender diversity in digital transformation.
We’re proud of the role women at PwC play in pushing the technology sector towards a progressive and exciting future that modernises and re-thinks solutions. One of these ways is through gender diversity. Diverse teams lead to smarter and more innovative solutions, and it’s our mission to create a more inclusive cybersecurity and technology workforce. From diverse teams to disruptive technology, we are bringing together the people necessary to deliver sustained outcomes for both society and business alike. PwC’s cyber practice helps ensure Australia’s sensitive data remains secure and defensible, by keeping it onshore and ensuring only appropriately cleared people handle it—all while delivering meaningful experiences for its people and clients. “If you want to be involved there’s a means of getting involved”, says Pip Wyrdeman, a PwC partner focusing on cyber in the government and public sector—particularly defence, as well as home affairs. She says being a “tech person” has changed significantly over the years, and the prerequisite to roles in this space has changed dramatically too. “You don’t have to be fascinated by the specifics of technology. It’s about people”, says Pip. “For me, it’s about wanting to know the ‘why’ in things. Technology happens to be where the growth is, where the innovation is, and where it’s exciting”, she says.


Leadership by example.
Mary Attard, a partner in our Identity and Access Management team, explained a lack of female role models can be a barrier for women considering a career in technology. “As a woman working in technology, it’s my responsibility to role model and advocate for the amazing opportunities and career experiences in this space”, says Mary. In her role, Mary helps clients manage opportunities and threats in the governance of customer and enterprise identities. She is also the leader of PwC’s Women in Cyber program, inspiring women around Australia to consider pursuing careers in cybersecurity. “We owe it to women that are either in the tech industry, or considering joining or studying it, to be a voice on why it’s incredible to work in this space”, she says. The program creates opportunities for all women at PwC to connect, network, and talk about things that are important from a female leadership perspective. This includes unconscious bias, negotiating pay, as well as providing the space to connect with other women who have gone through similar career paths, or have similar stories to share.


The role of the role model.

It’s all part of our focus as a passionate community of solvers, coming together in unexpected ways to build, earn and share trust, and deliver sustained outcomes for society. The success of the Women in Cyber program means we are now looking to expand beyond our own people into client networking and university partnerships. “We’re starting to see some really valuable, good people in senior places that we can look up to. I’m trying to be one of those people, because if you can see it, you can be it”, says Pip. Reflecting on her own career path, she says there has been a welcomed shift in leadership from women in the industry, particularly over the past five years. With support from fellow female leaders and mentors, Pip says she has been able to step up and “confidently stand in her leadership role as a woman, knowing she can”. For the past five years, Pip’s positive role modelling has helped improve the recruitment outcomes for women in the sector, as well as meet market demand for new talent in the industry. “The issue is that we don’t have enough people to do the work that needs to be done. If only 10% of the people doing that work at the moment are women, we’re missing out on a huge part of the potential talent pool”, she says.

“As a woman working in technology, it’s my responsibility to role-model and advocate for the amazing opportunities and career experiences in this space”

Mary Attard
Identity and Access Management Partner, PwC Australia 

Delivering unexpected advantage and sustained client outcomes through networking.
In order to take cyber forward, to innovate, and to grow as a society and solve important problems, there is a need to welcome new roles and role models on the possibilities of a career in technology. One of those role models is Richa Arora, who leads PwC’s cyber practice nationally for the healthcare sector. Richa works with leaders in other areas to bring cyber and digital identity into all of the firm's healthcare opportunities. “We want to be able to help each other”, says Richa. “It’s important to feel that you can approach any senior leader, and ask for advice and guidance. Just as I would have asked my mentors”. Reflecting on a recent panel discussion, Richa said, “the networking opportunities are different for women, compared to men ”. In welcoming women to the possibilities of a career in technology, she feels it is important to create a new landscape for networking, that’s more inclusive, in order to have a positive impact on the industry. Richa mentioned that panel members felt male colleagues would generally feel more comfortable asking a female colleague out for a coffee, and a male colleague out for a drink. It was recognised that situations like this can result in people being inadvertently excluded from key networking opportunities. Richa feels that creating new, more inclusive networking strategies is essential to building stronger connections across the board, and opportunities for the industry. Mary agrees. “There are many different career paths into technology, and we all come with a very different skill set. Inclusive networking is important to understanding what drives the individual and what impact they can make in the team”, she says.

PwC’s Consulting Business are true delivery partners meeting the needs of today, and tomorrow.
Beyond careers in technology being accessible to people of all genders, the team also stressed the importance of spreading awareness of cybersecurity needs in all businesses and sectors across Australia. As attacks on Australian organisations become more prevalent than better protected US counterparts, there has never been a more crucial time for teams to understand the importance of cyber. Everyone in an organisation needs to be thinking about cybersecurity. Because cybersecurity intersects with everything else, the expertise required must be varied too, welcoming unique capabilities and perspectives into the industry. Human-led and tech-powered, The New Equation for PwC’s Consulting Business is doing this, by bringing together the best of both worlds—unique perspectives and expert capability, where human meets digital. From insight to implementation, we are true delivery partners, changing the game in technology, and cyber. Working across all cybersecurity elements, the team delivers world-class technology solutions, led by world-class teams from advisory to engineering. We’re building trust in all that can be achieved when people work together in unexpected ways to solve important problems.

By people, for people—building trust in tomorrow by understanding the true cost of cyber.

“At the end of the day, you’re dealing with people”, says Mary. “If people don’t trust the system, they won’t use it, it’s that simple”. Not everyone needs to understand the technology, but they do need to understand its implications. The issue is that if boards, executive teams, and senior leaders do not understand its implications, they may not be able to gauge the cost to the business if security is compromised and an attack happens. Reflecting on this, Richa says, “if you’re digital, you’re going to have to think about cyber safety”. “It’s not optional, especially at an executive level”, she says. Richa sees awareness as the key to safeguarding for the future, by setting priorities to protect an organisation's critical assets as well as customers and their information. Making a considered choice around what you protect is crucial to determining the risk threshold, spending and starting the right conversations in the business.

Adding to this, Pip mentioned that one of the issues with cybersecurity is that, “we’re dealing with the “defender’s dilemma” - which says the defender needs to be right 100% of the time, whereas an attacker only has to be right once. She says it’s easier to prevent known cyber events that have happened before, but harder to preempt what could happen next. She reinforces that the global nature of digital means what happens in the US or elsewhere is relevant to Australia, emphasising that the potential impact of a cybersecurity breach is still underestimated by businesses here. This needs to change.

Connecting clients for change. 
Key to this change is our partners being true connectors at the intersection of human and digital. Being human-led and tech-powered, and working together with our clients, we’re solving as a community to advance humanity and help society move forward. As Mary describes it, “it’s about connecting the dots, ideas, and people and making sure that tech isn’t the first thing we lead with”. Instead, the team at PwC’s Cybersecurity and Digital Trust practice lead with a problem lens, driven by the curiosity of our people, to reframe problems in unexpected ways. From a recruitment perspective, it’s essential to employ people with business skills and curious minds that can see the bigger picture, and are capable of connecting these dots. We guide clients and communities to transform through digital, building trust in tomorrow.

Women belong in cyber and tech. That’s why we’re here to stay.
PwC is committed to building a more secure digital society. As a community of solvers, we come together in unexpected ways to build, earn and share trust for today, and tomorrow. By empowering female voices, we’re letting women around the world know that not only is there a place for you in technology, but that the industry needs your unique perspectives. We are proud to provide opportunities for women considering a career in technology. “Bring your curiosity and drive for learning,” says Richa. “We’ll teach you the rest”.

That’s The New Equation.

“We’re starting to see some really valuable, good people in senior places that we can look up to. I’m trying to be one of those people, because if you can see it, you can be it.”

Pip Wyrdeman
Cyber Partner, PwC Australia

Contact us

Mary Attard

Partner, Cybersecurity & Digital Trust, PwC Australia

Tel: +61 3 8603 0773

Richa Arora

Partner, Cybersecurity & Digital Trust, PwC Australia

Tel: +61 416 442 004

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