As a top article on the Secure360 blog when it was first written in 2017, we have updated this post with current statistics and ideas for 2019.
As cybercrime continues to rise, so will the number of cybersecurity job openings in the years to come. In fact, that number is projected to grow to 3.5 million openings by 2021, according to Cybrary. The demand for cybersecurity professionals is growing. Unfortunately, there is a noticeable gender gap found in technology jobs today.
We commonly hear about the gender gap in the cybersecurity workforce. However, we don’t always hear numbers that back up these claims. Below is a list of cold, hard numbers that highlight the gender gap within cybersecurity.
- Women make up 20% of the cybersecurity workforce
- In 2018, women held only 24% of senior roles across the globe
- Just 20% of the world’s CISOs are anticipated to be women this year
- 66% of women said they were never even introduced to the idea of cybersecurity as a child by a teacher or career counselor
- Women in the field still make an average of 12% less than men in similar roles
Gender balance in any profession, including cybersecurity, is unmistakably important. Diversity in gender as well as age is crucial for success. Studies have shown that diverse groups and teams are smarter and yield tremendous success. A team that includes a variety of people with different strengths and expertise will undoubtedly produce great results.
When you bring together individuals who differ in gender, age, backgrounds and cultures, they must learn to collaborate through challenges and a difference in opinions. This collaboration despite challenges is what builds a strong team.
Do women want to join the industry?
Yes! However, many women may feel discouraged and put off by their perception of the industry. The known fact that technology and security are both male dominated industries alone might deter women from seeking a career in cybersecurity. It’s important to promote the industry in a way that women will want to be a part of and feel welcome to.
Ok, so what do we do?
Educating children about STEM at an early age and encouraging girls to participate is a key step that is beginning to happen in many parts of the country.
Another thing we can do is raise awareness to let women know there is a need for them in cybersecurity. As new job openings continue to surface in cybersecurity careers, there is a responsibility to reach out and communicate in such a way that invites women into the industry. We need to improve the way we advertise cybersecurity and make it more appealing.
Lastly, offering support to all who want to learn more about cybersecurity and creating a gender-neutral perception of the industry are great next steps.
The gender gap in cybersecurity needs to be closed, it’s as simple as that. While it may be easier said than done, there are actions we can all take to continue spreading the word and being inclusive to all people.