According to WiCys, women only represent a quarter of cybersecurity staff. While inclusion and diversity are vital to the success of any industry, it’s especially relevant in cybersecurity. Cybercriminals come from different backgrounds, so it’s essential to have diverse professionals acting on these threats.
Hiring more women in cybersecurity can improve teamwork and reduce the vast skills gap. Read on to learn why there are few women in cybersecurity and how hiring more could benefit the industry.
Many STEM careers have few women despite years of fighting for inclusion. This is especially obvious in cybersecurity, where only a quarter of the workforce is female in 2023.
While this is low representation, it’s still an improvement from 2019, when women represented 20% of the cybersecurity workforce, and worlds apart from 2013, when a measly 11% of the cybersecurity workforce was female.
The cybersecurity industry is one of the few fields that still battles inclusion and diversity staff. Not only are women underrepresented, but ethnic staff only represent 22% of the workforce. This is puzzling, considering the cybersecurity industry has a skills gap of 3.7 million unfilled jobs.
While women have made considerable strides in previously male-dominated fields like astronomy and engineering, cybersecurity has been a hard nut to crack for a few reasons:
There’s sufficient evidence that women are disadvantaged in STEM education, a stepping stone into a cybersecurity career. Many female students are discouraged from taking STEM courses, diverting their ambitions from engineering, science, and tech careers.
The lack of visible female role models in the cybersecurity industry has discouraged many girls from pursuing their goals in the cybersecurity field. With only 11% of women in cybersecurity in 2013, the industry was male-dominated, with only a few women to look up to.
However, there’s been a steady rise in female leaders in tech, including Jen Easterly, the director of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency.
These women have been fighting tirelessly for inclusion and diversity and are responsible for the 14% increase in women’s representation in cybersecurity in the past 10 years.
Due to the media’s portrayal of cybersecurity experts as young men in hoodies in a dungeon, there are a lot of myths and wrong perceptions around the career that keep women out.
For instance, there’s the perception of long hours and high-pressure environments in cybersecurity. This discourages women with caregiving responsibilities from taking an interest in the field.
The cybersecurity industry has a massive skills gap, so we need as much talent as possible. Here are a few advantages of having more women in cybersecurity:
Women have many unique skills that could benefit the cybersecurity industry. These include attention to detail, practical communication skills, and analytical thinking.
According to a 2016 McKinsey & Company report, teams with diverse members were likely to be more financially successful. Having diverse points of view can improve a team’s problem-solving and decision-making abilities, which is essential in the cybersecurity industry.
Ethical and social dilemmas often face the cybersecurity industry. Increasing diversity will bring more voices to decision-making and oversee inclusive security resolutions.
While women are still underrepresented in cybersecurity, diversity in the industry has significantly improved in the last decade. Join the growing movement by increasing diversity in your company and experience the benefits of having well-rounded teams. Follow MRINetwork for more related topics and insights into the future of hiring.