04 Mar 2020 02:40:17 PM

Empowering Women in Cyber Risk Management: A TalentCorp Collaboration to Re-integrate Women Back into the Workforce.

Ladies of the Empowering Women in Cyber Risk Management Programme.

In January 2020, TalentCorp hosted 16 ladies for the final session of the “Empowering Women in Cyber Risk Management” programme. Launched in June 2019, the initiative is a career comeback programme for women in cyberrisk management designed by Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC), in collaboration with the Ministry of Women, Family and Community Development (KPWKM), the Ministry of Communications and Multimedia (KKMM), Department of Women Development (JPW), National Cyber Security Agency (NACSA) and TalentCorp. 

In his keynote address, MDEC’s Head of Digital Infrastructure and Services Ir. Wan Murdani Wan Mohamad recapped the programme’s objectives, which were to address cybersecurity talent shortages in the country, to promote workforce diversity, and to ensure a sustainable ecosystem for women to make a successful career comeback. 

He also commended the participants who successfully completed the 3-month empowerment programme which consisted of three phases, namely the Lab and Classroom Training, Assessment and Certification, and Immersion Programme, which is a 1-month placement with leading companies. 

While thanking the participants who took part in the programme, he said,
“We know that it wasn’t easy especially in the beginning, but you successfully persevered until the end. Well done!” 
Mr Wan Murdani commending the ladies for successfully completing the programme.

During the sharing session, the participants, facilitated by #TeamTalentCorp reflected on their journey throughout the programme. It was a pleasant surprise for the ladies when they shared about their personal experiences, to realise that they had a common goal when they signed up for the programme, and that they faced the same challenges throughout. 

For the participants, they were initially anxious as the topic of cybersecurity was new to them. On top of that, having been out of the workforce for years, some struggled to balance work and family throughout the programme, but eventually managed through the support of their family members. Even though not every participant received a permanent job placement, they expressed interest to further enhance their skills in cybersecurity and will continue to apply for related jobs. 
Women returnees sharing their personal journey throughout the 3 months programme.

We spoke to a few ladies who had received job placements to better understand their ups and downs throughout their career comeback journey. 

For Shazrina Kahar, the journey was not walk in the park. Shazrina, who opted for a career break due to a high-risk pregnancy shared that returning to work was challenging as she faced difficulties in matching with the recruiters’ demands. When she came to know about TalentCorp’s Career Comeback Programme, she wasted no time in signing up. 

Shazrina shared that halfway through the course, she had a mini crisis as her domestic help had run away, leaving her to balance between taking care of three kids and completing the programme. Her husband stepped up to extend extra support, which she admitted was tremendously important in easing her career comeback journey. She had the following advice for women looking to make a career comeback; 
“You need to do your part. Programme organisers just open the door for you, but it is up to you to actively network with industry partners and improve your interpersonal skills so you can stand out with your potential employers. Individual effort is the most important,” she concluded . 
Since completing the programme, Shazrina is settling in well in her role as an Assistant Manager of Emerging Tech Risk & Cyber (ETRC) at KPMG Malaysia. 
Shazrina shared that she was particularly grateful for the support of her family during the programme.

Fellow women returnee, Ameera Aqeela had an equally inspiring story to share. Following an unfortunate accident involving her husband and her son, Ameera was forced to leave her job to care for both of them. Her biggest challenge in returning to work was keeping up with the current trends and relevance within her industry. 

“After a series of interviews, I started to feel frustrated and demotivated. I lost my confidence to the extent that when an interviewer asks me to talk about myself, I would not have any idea of what I want to say! I slowly lost hope that I would ever return to work in cybersecurity again.”

When Ameera got wind of the TalentCorp MDEC cybersecurity programme, she signed up and took it as an opportunity to get back to work as soon as possible. The reassuring factor, Ameera pointed out, was that she got the impression that the participating companies understood the career comeback women’s dilemma, and they were willing to be of assistance. 
“Of course, there was a period of adjustments. For me, I needed time to ease into my new responsibilities. However, I am fortunate that the industry partners who collaborated in this programme understood my requirements which made my career comeback journey a smooth one,” she said. 
Ameera advised fellow career comeback hopefuls to always stay positive.

Ameera urged career comeback hopefuls to persevere in their journey in making that return.

“Never give up! Always trust that if something happens, it happens for the best. Keep looking out for opportunities because we never know when one will knock on our door,” she said. 

With programmes supported by both the Government and the private sector, Ameera, who is now a certified Security Consultant is positive that the collaborative efforts would encourage more women returnees. 
“I hope that there will be more opportunities offered in the future based of the success on this programme which can be extended to other industries,” she said. 

To date, the Empowering Women in Cyber Risk Management programme has brought back 9 qualified women to return to work upon the completion of the programme. 

If you are looking for career comeback opportunities, register with our Career Comeback Programme for updates on workshops and job openings: www.talentcorp.com.my/careercomeback