Neurodiversity in Focus as Cyber Leaders Assemble for UK Cyber Week

The UK Cyber Week Expo & Conference is taking place in London on April 17-18. A main focus this year is on addressing the cybersecurity skills gap and lack of diversity in the workforce. Experts say the skills gap grew 13% in the past year and equates to around 4 million missing cybersecurity professionals globally.


Global cybersecurity and IT leaders are gathering at the free-to- attend UK Cyber Week Expo & Conference in Olympia, London, on April 17-18 to debate some of the most pressing and prevalent issues currently impacting the UK cyber sector.

Now in its second year, UK Cyber Week has placed neurodiversity and burnout in the sector top of the agenda, with ‘The Inclusive Cyber Space’, UK Cyber Week aims to increase conversation and drive action to support diversity of thought and showcase the best equity practices through the speakers and activities.

The sector continues to face a skills gap, which experts say could be tackled by creating a more diverse workforce. A study published in October 2023 revealed that the skills gap grew by 13% from 2022, equating to roughly four million cybersecurity professionals missing from the global workforce. Another report published by ISACA recently found that 59% of cybersecurity teams are understaffed.

Throughout the two-day UK Cyber Week event, organised by ROAR B2B, attendees will hear from world-renowned names in the industry including Ben Owen, Intelligence Expert and star of Channel 4’s Hunted and The Boss; Geoff White, Tech and Crime Author and Podcaster; Danni Brooke, Intelligence Expert and star of Channel 4’s Hunted; Christine Bejerasco, CISO at WithSecure; Stephanie Itimi, CEO of SEIDEA; Rik Ferguson, VP Security Intelligence at Forescout Technologies and Special Advisor for Europol; and Marcus Hutchins, the Security Researcher who stopped one of the world’s largest ever cyber-attacks, WannaCry.

Director of NeuroCyber, Steph Aldridge who has headed up ‘The Inclusive Cyber Space’ at UK Cyber Week said: “We must build inclusive employee lifecycle practices and more importantly allow authenticity to flourish inhouse. This obvious acceptance will encourage neurodiverse staff to stay in our sector. Around 20% are estimated to be neurodivergent, so by supporting staff with difference of thought, we build inclusion by design, creating equitable working environments. In today’s world where cyber threats are constantly evolving, valuing diversity of thought is key to reducing burnout and building security by design as the driving force of innovation within the sector. This is what The Inclusive Cyber Space looks to address by showcasing those who are already doing it and winning.”

It’s estimated that around 15-20% of the UK population is neurodiverse. Qualities shared by many neurodivergent people, such as hyperfocus, high levels of persistence and pattern recognition, are advantageous to tasks related to cyber protection.

Panel discussions and keynotes at The Inclusive Cyber Space include:

  • Holly Foxcroft – and Jasmine Eskenzi: “Culture Shift: The future of the cyber workforce”
  • Edward Tucker – CTO Telefonica: ‘Leadership Inaction’
  • Daniel Olsen – Published Author: CyberPsychology: The Battle of Your Attention
  • Anna Collard – SVP Strategy KnowB4: ‘Cultivating a Zero Trust Mindset’
  • Tony Richards – Office of the CISO Google: ‘Office of the ERG’
  • NeuroCyber Panel ‘Data Demographics’ with Dr Ashley Sweetman, Holly Foxcroft, Charlie Rossi Mike Spain, Steph Aldridge, and Jade Eskenzi
  • Louise Batty- Stott & May: “Men, no pausing, this affects everyone”

Holly Foxcroft, award winning international speaker and thought leader in neurodiversity in cyber, said: “Critical thinking, perseverance, analytical and out the box thought processes, are characteristics of neurodivergent neurotypes. Research has shown us that our industry houses more neurodivergent individuals – so we really need to know more about how to support them and our leaders with specific guidance and training. Our industry is plagued with burnout, and understanding neurodiversity and inclusive leadership often offers better support and accommodations.”

Jasmine Eskenzi, Co-Founder & CEO of The Zensory, a scientifically backed productivity and wellbeing solution dedicated to helping professionals reduce burnout and achieve a healthy work-life balance, added: “Inclusivity isn’t just a buzzword. By championing diversity within the cybersecurity realm, we not only celebrate individual perspectives and increase innovation, but we also fortify our collective resilience against the emerging threats that we are facing. Our commitment to inclusivity isn’t just about the present; it’s an investment in a future where innovation knows no bounds, and every voice is heard.”

Bradley Maule-ffinch, Group Managing Director of ROAR B2B, added: “This year’s UK Cyber Week looks to tackle some of the biggest challenges facing the cyber industry today. We want to encourage conversations between the sector’s leading voices to help address issues such as the lack of diversity in the workforce, and how the integration of neurodivergent professionals could help stem the growing cyber skills gap.

“We’re delighted to be putting on an even better event than last year, with more visitors, more industry leaders, and more of a community atmosphere at a new bigger venue – Olympia London. We can’t wait for the doors to open and to welcome everyone in April!”

In partnership with ClubCISO, ROAR B2B will also be launching a series of Quick-Fire Surveys. Consisting of 15 key questions, these surveys are designed to gain insights on the most topical issues driving the cybersecurity news agenda.

UK Cyber Week is backed by government partners, including the National Cyber Crime Unit, the Department of Science, Innovation & Tech (DSIT), the National Crime Agency and the UK Defence & Security Exports (UKDSE). This year’s key exhibitors include Censornet, Culture AI, DigitalXRAID, Forescout Technologies, Sonicwall, and Threatlocker.

To register for your free ticket to attend UK Cyber Week this year, visit the UK Cyber Week website.

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