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Women in Cybersecurity! Young, Educated and Ready to Take Charge

Women in Cybersecurity! Young, Educated and Ready to Take Charge

Even though men outnumber Women in cybersecurity by three to one, more women are joining the field and they are gunning for leadership positions. Buoyed by higher levels of education and more certifications than their male counterparts, women cybersecurity workers are asserting themselves in the profession. Compared to men, higher percentages of women cybersecurity professionals are reaching positions such as chief technology officer (7% of women vs. 2% of men), vice president of IT (9% vs. 5%), IT director (18% vs. 14%) and C-level/ executive (28% vs. 19%), based on findings in the 2018 (ISC)2 Cybersecurity Workforce Study.

The figures show that women are forging a path to management, they are generally more educated and younger. While 44% of men in cyber security hold a post-graduate degree, the number of women is 52%. Nearly half of women cybersecurity pro fessionals surveyed are millennials 45% compared to 33% of men. By contrast, Generation X men make up a bigger percentage of the workforce (44%) than women (25%). According to the survey, women working in cybersecurity currently account for about one quarter (24%) of the over all workforce. This is a significantly higher finding than from 2017, when only 11% of study respondents where women. It should be noted that this study used a revised research meth odology, which likely accounts for the larger representation of women. Past iterations of the (ISC) Cybersecurity Workforce Study (formerly the Global Information Security Work force Study) found the number of women in cybersecurity was a mere 11%.

However, with the most recent study, we have taken a more holistic look at who is truly doing the work of cybersecurity. We talked to certified cybersecurity professionals in official cybersecurity functions as well as IT/ ICT professionals who spend at least 25% of their time working on cybersecurity responsibilities. Through this new approach to defining the cybersecurity workforce, our goal is to get a more accurate picture of the people doing the work which in turn, will provide more insight into the challenges we are facing and help us find solutions One of the most significant dirferences we found, through this improved, more inclusive methodology, is that the number of women with cybersecurity responsibilities who responded to our survey is now up to 24%.

Previous methodologies fo cused heavily on traditional cybersecurity roles and sectors in which may cybersecurity parties and functions originated, like the US. federal government. By broadening the scope of our research to encompass the men and woman doing the work in organ izations of all sizes across public and private sectors and around the globe, we found a significant increase in the number of women in the cybersecurity workforce. Our research suggests women cybersecurity professionals still face an uphil climb in some areas specifically in compensation. When asked about their previous year’s salaries, 17% of women said they earned US: 550,000 to $99,999, a full 12 percentage points less than men (29%). Women are somewhat closer in representation within the $100.000+ range (16% vs. 20% of men but of course that still means proportionally fewer women earn that level of compensation. Some of this inequity may be explained by age and tenure.

If women cybersecurity professionals as a group are younger than men fewer have worked in the field as long as most male counterparts, so that may be a cause for same discrepancy. But this doesn’t erase the reality revealed in previous research that women in cybersecurity managerial positions earn about 55,000 less than men. Indicating there is still an issue that needs to be addressed, the inequity may also explain what compels women to proportionally earn more degrees and certifications than men. Women place more value than men (28% vs. 20% on cybersecurity or related college graduate degrees, according to the Cybersecurity Workforce Study. On average women also earn more cybersecurity certifications.

Culled from KERBOROS

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