Just 11 per cent of global cybersecurity workforce is female, study finds

Doug Woodburn
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Just 11 per cent of global cybersecurity workforce is female, study finds

Europe bringing up the rear as study concludes that enterprise and government has failed to move the needle on under-representation of women in IT security sector over last four years

The ratio of women in the global cybersecurity profession has failed to improve over the last four years, according to a study of nearly 20,000 IT security professionals in 170 countries.

According to the Global Information Security Workforce Study - a study conducted every two years by the Center for Cyber Safety and Education - women make up just 11 per cent of the cybersecurity workforce, unchanged from 2015 and 2013.

In Europe, the figure stands at just seven per cent.

In a whitepaper based on the report, analyst Frost & Sullivan said the lack of success in moving the dial on the industry's male-to-female ratio could hamper efforts to close the cybersecurity skills gap.

"What is clear is that enterprise and government efforts to attract and retain more women in the global cybersecurity profession have not made a meaningful impact," it said.

"The stagnation of women's participation in the workforce is noteworthy because the workforce gap continues to grow. In fact, Frost & Sullivan projections show that the gap between available qualified professionals and unfilled positions will widen to 1.8 million by 2022.

"Attracting women to the profession across all regions has the potential to shrink the workforce gap, but only if they can be hired, trained, and retained in sufficient numbers."

The online survey quizzed 19,641 information security professionals from 170 countries on trends and issues affecting their profession and careers.

At seven per cent, Europe was found to have the lowest ratio of female cybersecurity workers of any region barring the Middle East. North America led the way on 14 per cent ahead of Asia-Pac (10 per cent), Africa (nine per cent) and Latin America (eight per cent).

The study also found that the gender pay gap for non-managerial posts in the cybersecurity industry has widened from four to six per cent over the last two years. However, the wage gap for women at director level and above has narrowed to three per cent, while the gap at managerial level has remained at four per cent, the research noted.

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