An introduction to this article appeared in the monthly Creating Connections newsletter put together by the women of The CyberWire. This is a guest-written article. The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors, not necessarily the CyberWire, Inc.
Open for diversity: Breaking career barriers in cybersecurity.
Diversity is a defensive weapon. And in the world of cybersecurity, that’s of tremendous value.
Studies have shown that diversity plays an important role in problem-solving in the workplace by bringing varying knowledge, skills, and judgments to the table. When organizations have a breadth of experience and thinking in crisis scenarios, it gives them the upper hand in fending off sophisticated attackers.
The problem is there’s a critical shortage of cyber skills and an overabundance of jobs to be filled. (ISC)2 estimates the Cybersecurity Workforce Gap stands at 3.4 million professionals globally. According to the 2022 (ISC)2 study, one reason the industry is struggling to fill open positions is the clear imbalance that exists between the needs of the industry and barriers to entry.
Take women, for instance. Although they make up 40% of the global workforce, women account for just roughly 25% of the cybersecurity workforce. Women in cyber roles do fare better than those in the tech industry, however, where they make up only 19% of entry- and mid-level ICT positions. At the senior level, women hold just 16% of tech positions and this number drops to 10% in the C-Suite.
The European Commission has been monitoring Member States’ digital progress through the Digital Economy and Society Index (DESI) reports since 2014. The Commission’s 2021 Women in Digital Scoreboard, which is part of the DESI, confirms that there is still a substantial gender gap in specialist digital skills. Only about one-third of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics graduates are female.