Sanne Aagaard, Marketing Manager, Orange Cyberdefense and Bettina Nyberg, HR Manager, Orange Cyberdefense are both members of Orange Cyberdefense's global core team WOMEN@OrangeCyberdefense, which works to create a strong network for women across the organization, increase visibility around women role models and attract more female talent to the company. Photo: Jesper Andersen, Greenster
When we hear the word "cybersecurity", many think of hooded hackers, complex code, and technical male-dominated workplaces. The industry's somewhat nerdy image makes it harder to attract talented women, but at Orange Cyberdefense we want to change that. We would like to puncture the many prejudices and stereotypes, because from our point of view the industry offers plenty of exciting challenges and good career opportunities for women who want flexibility, work-life balance - and the freedom to be themselves.
From a distance, the cybersecurity industry may appear to be populated by certain types of employees. The stereotypical view is that it primarily consists of slightly nerdy introverted men with a focus on coding and intricate technology. But the reality is that the industry attracts many kinds of people with different skills and backgrounds - although with a clear preponderance of men - and this has been the case for many years.
Bettina Nyberg and Sanne Aagaard from Orange Cyberdefense Denmark are both core team members of WOMEN@OrangeCyberdefense, and they know from their own experience that the industry has a lot to offer women with the right skills.
"It is my impression that many female candidates still opt out of cybersecurity because they see the industry as a technical man's world. This is a bit of a misunderstanding because cybersecurity is about much more than technology. For example, we have many daily interactions with our customers, suppliers, and other business partners, which require a broad overview, good collaboration and coordination skills, sharp social skills, and a developed sense of structure. Many women are excellent within these skills. Therefore, our message is that the industry is just as relevant for them as it is for men", says Bettina Nyberg, HR Manager at Orange Cyberdefense Denmark.
As an example, she highlights that Orange Cyberdefense helps many customers to prevent, avert and limit the damage after major cyberattacks. These are incidents that can really hurt the organizations affected. It is therefore crucial that the consultants can read tense situations correctly and act accordingly.
Today, Orange Cyberdefense has approximately 60 employees in Denmark, and the number is growing steadily, but only just under 20% of the employees are women. But when asked virtually all employees express that they see a more equal distribution of women and men as the most optimal – and something that should be strived for. Both because of the well-being and social life in the organization, but also because increased diversity means that more nuanced perspectives, which complement each other in a natural and constructive way, come into play - and this is ultimately good - both for the innovation in the company - and the bottom line.
"I believe that we, who know the industry from the inside, have a special duty to make young girls and women aware that IT and cybersecurity is exciting and that there are actually many fantastic and diverse career opportunities in the industry that they may not see today. Yes, men are still a majority in our industry – and they probably will be for quite a few years to come, but I think there are signs that we are moving in a slightly more positive direction. This is happening while some of the large mastodons in the Danish IT industry for the past few years have succeeded in attracting several strong and highly visible female leaders who speak up and set the tone in the diversity debate. But now we also would like to welcome more men to the table, for after all, this is not a battle of the sexes – it is about diversity, equity, and inclusion - and that is important for all of us. Therefore, we must try harder to accelerate breaking down the cultural habits, norms - and prejudices, which still create barriers for women who want to enter the industry", says Sanne Aagaard, Marketing Manager, Orange Cyberdefense Denmark.
Today, cybersecurity is no longer a "nice to have", it is a necessary cornerstone of our modern, digital society and business life. Strong cybersecurity creates security - and it makes sense to help build a safer digital society, which is Orange Cyberdefense's mission. It fits well with the spirit of the times.
According to Bettina Nyberg, strong core values and meaningful work are increasingly important in terms of attracting skilled employees of both sexes. 5-10 years ago, most job interviews were mainly about salary and pensions, but today the candidates' focus on healthy core values and a balanced work culture is just as important.
"When I talk about our work conditions, our candidates are often surprised. Two child's first sick days, good maternity leave, comprehensive health insurance, great personal freedom and 100% flexibility in relation to where and when you carry out your tasks. Of course, we have goals and KPIs like everyone else, but if you want to work from home – ore anywhere for a few days, nobody interferes. Our goal is that alle employees find a long-lasting work-life balance. It is important to us because we are a workplace that wants happy and healthy employees who come to work motivated as holistic people. I think we succeed quite well in that objective, because most of our employees choose to stay with us for many years", says Bettina Nyberg.
Over the past 15 years, the proportion of women in the Danish IT industry has remained stagnant at around 30%, so it is strong forces that Orange Cyberdefense is up against in the fight for more female employees. Here, Sanne Aagaard and Bettina Nyberg see certain measures as more important than others.
And both point out that the lack of role models is a key element. One of the big problems is that many women do not feel they have someone to look up to in the industry or model their own career after which may be one of the explanations why fewer women consider cybersecurity as a career option. In addition, of course, there are all the other more structural, cultural, and societal explanations, which together with habits, stereotypes and prejudices are also factors that have an impact on women's choice of education and career.
"At Orange Cyberdefense, we are very aware that we work in an industry that is dominated by men - and all the prejudices that attach to that. We would like to puncture them. That is why we also pay extra attention to highlighting our many talented female employees - both internally in the organization but also externally. We don't highlight someone just because they are women, but because they are excellent at their jobs, great colleagues, and fantastic representatives of our company - and of the IT and cyber security industry in general. And here our MarCom department plays a particularly important role in relation to communication", explains Sanne Aagaard - and she continues:
"To get more focus on the area of diversity - and become a more attractive and inclusive workplace for everyone - regardless of gender - we have created WOMEN@OrangeCyberdefense - a global network that is open to all women across the entire organization. Here you can get inspiration, reflect on role models, participate in seminars and events, or get a mentor to spar with if you need it. It is an incredibly exciting, inspiring, and rewarding initiative, which is supported by all Country Managers and the Bord of Directors at Orange Cyberdefense, and we expect that a lot of good things will emerge from this initiative in the years to come", says Sanne Aagaard.
Like the rest of the industry, Orange Cyberdefense also struggles to attract female employees - it is particularly difficult in the slightly more technical areas, and this means a lot for the focus HR puts into the recruitment process.
"We are very aware that our job advertisements must be aimed at both women and men. We don’t treat job applicants differently, so that some get a disadvantage because of their gender, because in the end it is always about the people, we employ having the right skills, the right experience and the right values that suit our company. But having said that, we do go a long way to create a better gender balance. That is why we are also particularly concerned with getting closer cooperation with various industry organizations, such as e.g., Women in Tech, the STEM programs, and the IT University in the future. We would like to become better at attracting all the female talent we know is out there - who will hopefully want to give the IT and cybersecurity industry a chance", emphasizes Bettina Nyberg.
7 July 2023
Astrid Grossert, Account Manager
7 July 2023
Michelle Skjødt-Davis, Service Delivery Manager
7 July 2023
Bettina Nyberg, HR Manager
7 July 2023
Bettina Møller, Accounting Manager
7 July 2023
Pernille Kokholm, Inside Sales
8 March 2022
8 March 2022
8 March 2022