Hannah Yeoh, Surina Shukri MDEC

MDEC launches “Empowering Women in Cyber Risk Management” career comeback programme for women

The Malaysian Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) today, in partnership with the Ministry of Women, Family and Community Development (KPWKM), Ministry of Communications and Multimedia (KKMM), Department of Women’s Development (JPW), National Cyber Security Agency (NASCA) and TalentCorp, launched a career comeback programme for women entitled “Empowering Women in Cyber Risk Management.”

In her opening speech, YB Puan Hannah Yeoh, Deputy Minister in the Ministry of Women, Family and Community Development revealed that based on the 2017 Labour Force Study the participation of the nation’s labour force is at 68 percent; with a split of 80.1 percent male and 54.7 percent female.

According to the Minister of Human Resources during the annual “Life at Work 2018” awards, women make up half of the nation’s population and almost half of the total labour force.

Coming back

She added that Malaysia’s Gross Domestic Production (GDP) could potentially increase between MYR6 billion to MYR9 billion if more women participated in the work force, including the cyber security industry.

Hannah Yeoh, Surina Shukri

In addition, in a separate report by TalentCorp and ACCA—“Retaining Women Workplace,” it was found that 93 percent of women who had stopped work want to return to work but two out of three or 63 percent of them found it challenging to do so.

In 2015, TalentCorp introduced a “Career Comeback Programme (CCP)” for women who want to return to work. Through the initiative, a total of 820 women returned to work with 323 employers. The initiative drew commendation from representatives of the Global Summit of Women in Warsaw, Poland.

Growing cyber threats

In a recent cyber security report in ASEAN by AT Kearney, it was revealed that 1,000 top ASEAN companies lost up to USD740 billion in market capital due to cyber attacks and cyber security threats. These threats can stifle digital innovation and the progress towards building digital economies in the region.

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Closer to home, Malaysian companies have lost over MYR68 million to various forms of cyber crime—from phone scams (MYR20 million), online fraud (MYR4.2 million), African scams, and others.

On the flipside, with threats come opportunity. Cyber security spend in ASEAN is expected to experience sustainable growth of 15 percent between 2015 and 2025.

In a recent digital study by Frost & Sullivan, demand for cybersecurity talent in Malaysia will hit 10,500 by 2020.

Demand far outstrips supply, although interestingly, 21 percent of the cybersecurity workforce in the country are women, compared to just 11 percent in the US.

“There is a 0% unemployment rate in cybersecurity in Malaysia,” said Surina Shukri, MDEC CEO. The overall situation is that the funnel for new talent is inadequate to meet the demands of the industry and to support the needs of the digital economy.

“A programme like this can arm women with needed skills for high demand jobs in the era of Industry 4.0, short for the Fourth Industrial Revolution. A cyber security management programme can help women to secure stable careers in the future and subsequently enabling them to become long term contributors in building the nation’s digital economy. This will also secure Malaysia as a hub for cybersecurity in the region.”

The right time

Therefore, the introduction of the “Empowering Women in Cyber Risk Management” programme comes at an opportune time. The strategic inter-ministerial initiative aims to grow talent in the cybersecurity arena as well as reskill women who want to return to work.

The programme will operate like an internship with industry partners, where participating women will be enrolled in globally-recognised certification programmes to build fundamental knowledge in the ecosystem.

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The three-month pilot “career comeback” programme is an important step to grow high value talent to meet the growing demands of the industry.

Hannah Yeoh, Surina Shukri, MDEC

It has garnered the support of industry partners namely CIMB, EY, PwC Malaysia, Roche Shared Services Centre Kuala Lumpur, Standard Chartered Global Business Services Sdn. Bhd., SWIFT and cybersecurity firms like AKATI Consulting Group, FIRMUS Sdn. Bhd., LGMS/LE Global Services Sdn. Bhd., NEXAGATE Sdn. Bhd., and Agmo Studio Sdn. Bhd. Other companies like ISACA Malaysia, Cisco Systems (Malaysia) Sdn. Bhd., Tecforte Sdn. Bhd., F-Secure, and Asia Cybersecurity Exchange (Asiacyberx) will play a role as strategic partners for the programme and provide relevant training for participants.

The key objectives of the programme include meeting the local and regional talent demands; creating a stable ecosystem for women to return to work with competitive renumeration; inculcate a culture of diversity and inclusivity in the workplace where women can offer new ideas and perspectives as well as various skill sets.

Hannah said that the programme will offer various support to participants including mentorships, training, monthly allowances, and other benefits.

“Malaysia Baharu is all about trying new things. There are only two ways this could go—it will succeed or it will fail. If it doesn’t work, we’ll try again,” she said. For it to work, it will take partnerships and inter-ministerial cooperation, she add.

The minister hopes that all participants from the programme will be able to restart their careers in January 2020.

How to sign up

To participate in the programme, the requirements are as follows:

  • Must be a Malaysian citizen;
  • Participant has stopped working for more than 6 months;
  • Possesses at least 3 years of experience in the corporate sector

Submit your application here: bit.ly/WomeninCyber. Closing date: 31 July 2019

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