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Women still severely underrepresented in cybersecurity industry, study finds


By Kathryn Higgins

22 March 2017 at 10:37 BST


As the demand for cybersecurity support accelerates among companies, service providers might be overlooking a key talent pool.

Andrea De Martin

A new study released by PwC, entitled the ‘2017 Global Information Security Workforce Study: Women in Cybersecurity’, has empirically re-confirmed that is now common knowledge to most professionals with any degree of interaction with external cybersecurity service providers – that professionals in the sector are very rarely women. Its survey of 19,000 information security professionals from 170 countries found that women currently comprise only 11 per cent of the global cybersecurity workforce. Women’s presence in the industry is slightly more substantial in the United States, at 14 per cent, but lower at 7 per cent in Europe and just 5 per cent in the Middle East.

Educational disparities

According to the study’s findings, the massive gender disparity in the global cybersecurity workforce may have as much to do with the educational roots of professionals in the field as with more predictable factors, such as workplace discrimination and pay disparities. For example, while more women than men included in PwC’s study said that they had obtained a graduate degree (51 per cent versus 45 per cent), men were significantly more likely to have backgrounds in computer and information sciences or engineering than their women colleagues.

Focus on recruitment

Accordingly, PwC Global Crisis Centre principal Sloane Menkes says cybersecurity companies need to get smart about recruitment if they’re going to address the gender gap and ensure they’re getting the best talent through the door. ‘I think that our millennial generation is inspiring me to have a very bright perspective on the future of women in cybersecurity in the workforce,’ she told Legaltech News, adding that cybersecurity companies should ‘look at the universities that have the highest percentages of women participating in [cybersecurity or related] program and recruit from these sources.’ Sources: PwC; Legaltech News

 
   
 
 
 

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