Women make up 24% of cybersecurity workforce — up from 11% in 2017
- A higher percentage of women, 7%, are earning top ranking technology positions like CTO than men, 2%, from the cybersecurity workforce, according to an (ISC)2 Cybersecurity Workforce Study report.
- Women in cybersecurity are also more educated than their male counterparts with 52% of women holding post-graduate degrees, compared to only 44% of men. However, 24% of the cybersecurity workforce is made up of women.
- Women and men share concerns about upper management's lack of commitment, losing jobs to outsourcing and no standardization of cybersecurity terminology. About 19% of women cite low security awareness among users as a challenge, followed by 17% saying there is an insufficient amount of available security talent.
Lack of diversity is an Achilles' heel for the tech industry, but companies rely on diversification of thought to expand workforceskill sets to adapt to sophisticated bad actors and the potential of a data breach.
Companies are looking beyond standard resume qualifications because the demand for cybersecurity talent is outpacing the training pipelines feeding the industry. Hiring committees and HR teams have to work to break down biases and assumptions.
When HPE CISO Liz Joyce worked as a security consultant and attended on-site meetings or conferences, she was generally the only female among a large group of men. The "automatic assumption was that I was the salesperson," she said, in an interview with CIO Dive in February.
In 2017, women accounted for 11% of the cybersecurity workforce. While the involvement of women in security is improving, overall help is needed. Forrester estimates that by 2020 there will be about 1.2 million open cybersecurity jobs. Demand will continue to grow as the threat landscape evolves.
Critics of the expansive cybesecurity talent gap, like Xerox CISO Dr. Alissa Johnson, say its almost too late for diversity because the problem is immediate. By the time the next generation is trained, cybersecurity will be yesterday's problem.
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