CYBER SECURITY AND THE GENDER GAP: INVESTIGATING ROOT CAUSES
Cyber security experts agree that the modern threat landscape is becoming increasingly dangerous. However, the cyber security labour force has been unable to grow accordingly. The field’s ever-widening labour shortage creates a significant vulnerability in the modern economy and its overall ability to protect cyber infrastructure is arguably in a state of relative decline. To solve this problem the industry will need to address one of the most persistent labour gaps in the field – the significant underrepresentation of women.
The proportion of women in cyber security is stagnant. According to the 2017 Global Information Security Workforce Survey (GISWS), the proportion of women in the field has not changed significantly since the 2015 survey (11 percent globally, 14 percent in North America) and the UK Office of National Statistics has found no significant increase since at least 2013. To understand why the current status quo results in limited female participation, it is necessary to consider the root causes that may hinder entry into the industry.
Are women presented with cyber security as a career option?
There is substantial evidence that women are not presented with cyber security as a career option. In a McKinsey profile interview, leading advocates for women in tech suggested that technology is not presented as a normal career path for women. Research from the Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA) supports this. Although CompTIA found that girls’ interest in technology lessens as they age, 69 percent of the women who reported disinterest in the industry attributed their attitude to a lack of information about career opportunities.
Jan-Mar 2018 Issue
Daubenspeck and Associates