Women in Cybersecurity Roles Thrived Amidst the Pandemic

Opportunity in Cybersecurity

According to Tessian’s new global report – Opportunity in Cybersecurity 2021, 94% of women in cybersecurity hired new staff members in 2020 to support their teams, with healthcare, IT, and finance industries making the most hires.

COVID-19 sent shockwaves across industries, and organizations had to rapidly transform overnight just to survive. Even though the global job market was hit hard by the pandemic, cybersecurity job recruitment thrived in 2020. As per a new global report from human layer security company Tessian – Opportunity in Cybersecurity 2021, 94% of women in cybersecurity hired new staff members in 2020 to support their teams, with IT, finance, and healthcare industries making the most hires.

According to the report, nearly half (49%) of women working in cybersecurity believe COVID-19 has positively affected their career, while just 9% said it had a negative effect. Additionally, 89 percent of women working in the industry said they felt secure in their jobs.

Even though things are slowly changing for the better, and the industry is offering promising opportunities, there is a lot of work that needs to be done to encourage the younger generation of women to consider a career in cybersecurity. Tessian surveyed university graduates aged 18-25 years old and found that 42 percent of men said they were more likely to consider a cybersecurity job while only 26 percent of women said agreed.

However, 87 percent of younger women said they thought the industry to be “important,” and 73 percent found it “interesting.”

When women cybersecurity professionals were asked what would motivate more women to take up cybersecurity roles, equal pay got the majority vote, with 47 percent of women saying it would help bridge the gender gap.

Despite an increasing number of women choosing cybersecurity as a career, they still face discrimination and pay inequality. Even though pay inequality on its own is a significant issue, the broader implications for the security industry are dire. The IT industry suffers from a shortage of skilled professionals, while those who work in security report high levels of burnout, stress, and depression. And, women who are already severely underrepresented in cybersecurity may not apply for these jobs, especially if they are only going to get paid a fraction of what their male counterparts make.

With the global cyber skills gap continuing to rise, the cybersecurity industry must look critically at efforts to retain and recruit more women within the field. Strategies aimed at increasing the number of women leaders and decreasing the digital skills gaps are essential.

To empower women in cybersecurity, a shift in mindset and culture is needed. These shifts are crucial as the cybersecurity field can no longer afford to disregard the challenges that women face in entering the workforce. Encouraging more women to join the industry would significantly increase their economic power and bring innovation to the field. And, failing to capitalize on the potential offered by increased diversity delays the sector from reaching maturity.

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Sabrina Castiglione, CFO and Acting Head of Talent at Tessian, says, “The women in our report have spoken; cybersecurity is an industry to build a thriving career, even in a global pandemic, and the younger generation recognizes that it’s important. So now, we need to show more women and girls how they can explore the opportunities available to them.”

“Greater awareness in schools is critical, but businesses, too, can help build a more diverse talent pool for the future through initiatives like hiring more diverse candidates at junior levels and developing them into senior roles, and creating platforms for role models to share their stories. We won’t solve the gender gap overnight. But acting now and playing the long game will have enormous benefits – both for businesses and society,” she adds.

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