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CHIPS Articles: Women in Cybersecurity: only 11 percent of workforce

Women in Cybersecurity: only 11 percent of workforce
By CHIPS Magazine - April-June 2017
The International Information System Security Certification Consortium (ISC)2 reported this month that women continue to comprise only 11 percent of the information security workforce — despite women making up approximately half of the global population.

The data derives from the latest research by the Center for Cyber Safety and Education and the Executive Women’s Forum on Information Security, Risk Management & Privacy (EWF). The low number of women in the cybersecurity field has remained stagnant since 2013, according to the study, conducted by Frost & Sullivan.

The information is detailed in the latest infographic created using data from the 2017 Women in Cybersecurity report, which was part of the Global Information Security Workforce Study (GISWS), sponsored by Booz Allen Hamilton.

The study found that women in cybersecurity have higher levels of education than men, but fewer hold senior-level positions — and they earn less money. Women in cybersecurity are also likely to have a wider variety of undergraduate degrees than their male counterparts.

With the imminent 1.8 million cybersecurity workforce gap projected by 2022, organizations are overlooking an obvious talent pool. Organizations should focus efforts on recruiting and retaining women to fill these open positions, according to the study.

Women, who participated in the study, said access to sponsorship and leadership programs made them feel valued in their role, and they were more likely to be successful.

Key takeaways from the study urge a comprehensive recruitment and retention strategy to ensure women feel valued in the workplace and benefit from sponsorship and leadership programs. Successful organizational actions reported by the women respondents include:

- Sponsors recommending them for high profile work;
- Sponsors proactively introducing them to other people in their professional network;
- Sponsors recommending them for promotion;
- Providing non-technical skill development;
- Informal or formal mentoring; and
- Leadership/Executive coaching.

You can view the full Women in Cybersecurity infographic.

PricewaterhouseCoopers LLC, gold sponsor, Alta Associates, and sponsors, IBM Security and Veracode were contributing sponsors of the report.

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