Friday 11 November 2016

There’s more than one definition for diversity

A post by Claire Fulford, business owner, security professional and passionate supporter of diversity.

People talk about wanting diversity but not everyone defines it the same way.  When I resigned from my role in Hong Kong last year, I contacted recruiters in Australia.  Many told me that my 3+ years of Asian experience meant nothing in Australia and that if I wasn’t technical I was going to struggle to get work.  The fact that I was a woman “helped” but I was going to have to “take a lower role to get some Australian experience”. I was returning to a country that prided itself on its commitment to diversity and yet I was told I needed to be like everyone else in order to secure a senior role.  Fortunately for me, it was my network that brought the right role to my attention. 

I’ve never really been one for the whole diversity thing. I’m more about the right person for the right job…no matter the gender, age, race, religion or preference for Beatles or Elvis (for the record…I'm a Beatles fan). 
Beatles or Elvis? Diversity! (Ímage owner unknown)
People are people and it’s unfortunate that we are at a place in our history where we require quotas to make sure there’s enough ‘diversity’ in decision making roles (and will continue to be in the future).  And let’s be honest, when most businesses say they are looking for diversity…they really mean women. Which is a shame given how ‘diverse’ diversity can be when you put your mind to it. 

After recently working on an article for CSO Online with Micah and Iresha from AWSN, I felt aligned with the interviewees whose responses reflected more than one definition for diversity.  There’s diverse culture, diverse career backgrounds, diverse thinking, diverse work locations and diverse values – all of these things and more make for a better equipped workforce.

With the current state of the information security industry, its challenging to find roles that fit our vast, varied and diverse experience.  If you need some support to get into the industry or to find your next role to stay in the industry (because this is proving to be just a big a challenge as entry), support can be found here at AWSN.  Establishing your strengths, deciding where you want to be and who you might need to meet to get you there can make the world of difference.  Come along to our lunches, reach out at conferences and connect with other AWSN members to find coaches, mentors and more.  We look forward to meeting you…male, female, senior, junior, Elvis or Beatles… everyone is welcome.

 This post has been created by A Turner on behalf of AWSN. 

(c) AWSN 2016

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