When I was younger I lived on the Essex/Suffolk border in an area probably best described as farmland. My village was what you may call ‘quaint’, consisting of a post office, four pubs, a great river for fishing in and nothing much else besides open space.
It was so quiet and peaceful that the local police station shut because there wasn’t any crime. Ever.
I hated it!
Growing up in that environment was boring in the extreme and I had to wait until four weeks after my 17th birthday to really get out into the real world (every young man needs a car!). Its only as I’ve gotten older that I have realised what a pleasant and fortunate upbringing I had, but at the time I could think of nothing more than getting into a city or, heck, even a town.
Via university and some short-sighted career choices I ended up living on the outskirts of London. When I first moved to the area it was quite a shock as I had never seen a ‘foreigner’ except on TV.
But you know what?
I loved that diversity as much then (and I’m talking about 20+ years ago which was the Stone Age in terms of how other people viewed certain ethnic groups) as I do now.
In the present day we have laws that mandate how employers should approach recruitment, namely that they should take the best candidate regardless of their race and, in my experience, they work well and perhaps aren’t even necessary in terms of my own employer (I’m the only native Brit on my shift at work).
I’ve also seen the age discrimination rules work well too and I’m not aware of any employer in my local area favouring younger people over old. In fact, ‘older’ people outnumber youngsters considerably, primarily because no-one is leaving the jobs they currently have on account of the recession.
Since I became involved in the infosec community (which I’ve said time and again is a fantastic gathering of supremely nice people) I’ve seen the same level of diversity in terms of race and age, though its arguable that is due to the fact that I am in the London area (but I hope not).
The one area that is an issue, however, is the balance of men and women in the industry.
Much has been written about why women may be underrepresented and why there is still a culture of discrimination against them.
The world has moved on from the time when men had all the top jobs and the majority of women simply got married and kept house but perhaps the infosec industry hasn’t caught up yet?
I considered that in a recent article I posted on Brian Honan’s BH Consulting blog and you can read that here.