Monday, 05 October 2020 11:08

NSW cyber security sector little affected by COVID-19: study

NSW cyber security sector little affected by COVID-19: study Image by André Santana from Pixabay

A survey of cyber security professionals in NSW has found that 96.5% were working from home due to the coronavirus pandemic and the income of 12.6% had been affected due to the outbreak.

The 3.5% who did not work from home were employed in roles that did not permit it. Of the 96.5%, 7.3% said they wanted to work from home all the time, while 51.3% said they would like to work from home most of the time and 38.8% expressed a liking for working from home sometimes. Only 2.6% said they would not like to work from home at all.

Working from home was found to have resulted in a degradation of workplace communications by 21.1% while 27.3% said their experience was positive. And 47.9 found no difference in communications at all.

The data was gathered by the Australian Information Security Association, a lobby group for the sector, after surveying its 6500 individual and corporate members. Prior to that, the major stakeholders were questioned to find out the key areas that needed to be investigated. The study concentrated on NSW figures as it was done for the NSW Treasury, but national data was also collated.

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Apart from this, interviews and surveys of CISOs, CSOs, CIOs and business executives and recruiters were conducted across aerospace, banking and finance, critical infrastructure (power, energy, water and other utilities), TAFE/tertiary, government agencies (state/federal), manufacturing, not-for-profit, retail, telecommunications and MSPs/cyber security vendors. Details of positions requiring information security skills advertised on SEEK between January and June 2020 were also collated.

aisa survey

Only 13.9% worked at organisations that integrated individuals with autism/neurodiversity. About 34.3% worked at organisations that lacked programs to support neurodiversity, whilst 51.7% were unaware whether such programs existed.

When it came to gender diversity, 52.6% felt that diversity had improved or increased, with 26.1% believing it had stayed the same and 1.7% believing diversity had decreased slightly. A further 19.1% were unsure whether there had been an improvement or deterioration.

Two years ago, when AISA surveyed the sector, it found that approximately 12% were women. This time, 18.3% of the workers were found to be women, with 79.1% being men, 0.4% who preferred to self-describe and 2.2% who did specify a gender. Nationally, 16.1% were found to be women, while 80.8% were men, 0.3% preferred to self-describe and 2.8% preferred not to disclose.

A total of 70.4% of those employed saw no change in their status due to the pandemic, while 7.8% were either laid off, quit their jobs or had their employment contracts terminated. About 12.6% experienced negative consequences, either through reduced paid hours, reductions in salary or moving from full-time to part-time employment.

On the positive side, 2.2% experienced a salary increase, while an additional 2.6% increased their paid work. Only 3% changed their jobs which is very similar to the national numbers across all states. Among other states and territories, the ACT saw 10.5% change jobs, while Victoria was more stable at 1%.

About 34.4% had to work longer during the pandemic, while 11.8% experienced a reduction in workload. The number of additional hours varied from a few extra hours a day to extremes of 40% more a week. But no matter the hours, 77.1% were somewhat satisfied to very satisfied with their jobs.

The survey found that about three-fifths of respondents expected increased investment in cyber security training and education over the next 12 months.

The full survey can be downloaded here.

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Sam Varghese

Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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