Stroz Friedberg is celebrating International Women’s Day, a global celebration on March 8 recognizing the achievements of women, by profiling some of the women whose work keeps our company at the forefront of cybersecurity. Throughout this month, we’ll be posting interviews that highlight different career paths in technology, overcoming obstacles, and advice for other women pursuing their own careers in the industry. We hope readers will be inspired to #BeBoldForChange and join us in contributing to International Women’s Day’s vision of empowering women around the world.
Robyn Brooks, Senior Corporate Recruiter at Stroz Friedberg, an Aon company
I am a corporate recruiter at Stroz Friedberg, hiring for our cyber business, which includes our digital forensics, intellectual property, incident response and proactive information security teams. In addition to recruiting through traditional methods, I help lead campus recruiting, where we hire interns for our cyber summer associate program and candidates for the full-time cyber associate program. I find it especially fulfilling seeing the people I hire succeed and advance here. One of the best things about my role is that I am always learning – not only about my field, but also from the diverse range of candidates I speak with, from students to more experienced candidates in high-level technical roles.
In the three and a half years I have been at Stroz Friedberg, I am excited to have seen an increase in the number of female students applying for our internship and entry-level full-time roles. I’m happy to say that women have made up 32% of the students who came through our entry-level programs in the last three years. With women representing only around 11% of the cybersecurity workforce as a whole, this means we’re seeing progress.
At the more experienced levels, however, I haven’t seen much of a change. This could be due to the fact that technical training and further education for women trying to make a career change into the cybersecurity field is expensive, so if companies are not funding it, it can be difficult to pursue. This is a particularly frustrating hurdle given the shortage of skilled people to fill open positions in the cybersecurity industry – the opportunities are there but gaining the skills can be challenging. At the entry level, however, there are more programs being sponsored by schools and other organizations who are targeting the younger age group.
Even with this increased investment in the careers of the younger generation, there is still room for improvement to involve women in cybersecurity early on. I often talk to women who weren’t aware that cybersecurity was even a career path. Just as we teach children they can become a doctor or lawyer, it is important to introduce cybersecurity as a career option early on. We should be teaching women that they can be computer scientists, ethical hackers, or information security policy experts. I’m sure that this would lead to a boom in women in the cybersecurity workforce.
I would advise anyone interested in a career in this competitive field to keep up with industry and technology trends, attend networking events, get involved in the industry, and share best practices with peers at other companies. At the entry level, it is absolutely crucial to get involved in an organization that helps you learn skills. Stroz Friedberg recently sponsored the Women in Cybersecurity conference, and other organizations like Women’s Society of Cyberjutsu, or Girls Who Code, can also help.
For employers, the more women that are in leadership roles, the better we’ll do at attracting women to come on board. Companies also need to include men in the conversation alongside women if they are in positions to hire and mentor to ensure we minimize unconscious bias across the group. Women in leadership positions not only bring companies diversity in ideas and policies, but also provide the role models for young women to aspire to become.