A 2020 study by (ISC²) estimates that there are 2.8 million cyber security professionals working globally. The continued rise of cybercrime has meant more demand for people working in the sector, but the number of people entering the field is not rising at the same rate, creating a gap in the market for skilled cyber-literate professionals. To meet demand and continue to fight cybercrime and make business more cyber resilient, the sector needs to become a more appealing career prospect to a wider demographic, especially to women, who made up only 30% of the respondent base to this particular survey.
How to harness the talent pipeline and encourage them to pursue a career in cyber security?
For women in particular, a career in cyber security is already a desirable opportunity. In the survey, two-thirds of the female respondents said that they had planned to enter the field whilst still at university, with 68% claiming that they planned to stay in the industry for the remainder of their careers. However, women face more discrimination in the industry than men do, with 22% of women surveyed revealing that gender discrimination is a challenge they have experienced during their career, compared with just 13% of male respondents.
Another challenge facing women in the cyber security industry is the disparity in salaries. Despite good average salaries and a high job satisfaction rate, women in the industry are paid significantly less than their male counterparts. With the gender pay gap a global issue, it’s something that will need to be addressed by the cyber security industry if they are to attract more female professionals to the sector.
There have been some recent attempts by various organisations – including governments and academia – to encourage women and girls to consider jobs in STEM industries, giving them help with funding and access to placements. And even though the (ISC²) study showed that cyber security roles particularly appealed to women under the age of 45, there are far more than just recent graduates looking to break into the field.
BRIM’s own student services programme supports cyber security students from all walks of life, from first-time students to skilled professionals with applicable skills looking to retrain. We have many students who are ex-military, as they possess many of the required personal qualities that are advantageous in the cyber security field.
Director of Programmes at BRIM, Joanna Goddard commented:
“This report gathers key statistics which, when coupled with the economic performance data of companies with gender diverse leadership, demonstrates there is significant opportunity for more women to engage in the cyber industry. Working closely with IASME Certifying Bodies within the Trusted Partners network across the UK, I am regularly made aware of how there is also a shortage of Communication and Marketing skills in technical security companies. Therefore, with so many other industries sadly seeing redundancy on the rise, there is opportunity for transferable skills across Business Development, Marketing and Comms as well as the brilliant work being done in developing technical skills. “
At BRIM, we are proud to partner with leading universities across the UK to offer this valuable on-the-job experience in the cyber security field and help nurture the talent pipeline, to fill the gap in the market for skilled professionals in the industry.
You can find the full report by (ICS²) here.
If you would like to discuss gender diversity in cyber security, please contact us.