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Women remain under-represented in information security: report

(ISC)² has released a new report entitled ‘Women in Security: Wisely Positioned for the Future of InfoSec’ in partnership with Booz Allen Hamilton, and conducted by Frost & Sullivan. Surveying nearly 14,000 global professionals, the report focuses on the lack of gender diversity in the information security workforce despite a cyber landscape that is growing and changing in complexity of threats. Specific topic areas in the report include the differences between men and women in the industry, the current and future outlook for women in the information security field and the unique skills women possess to fill pertinent information security positions today and in the future.

“The information security field is expected to see a deficit of 1.5 million professionals by 2020 if we don’t take proactive measures to close the gap,” says (ISC)² CEO David Shearer. “Knowing this, it is rather frustrating to realize that we do not have more women working in the industry. Only 10 percent of information security professionals are women, and that needs to change. Through collaboration, research and partnerships, (ISC)² is committed to empowering underrepresented minority groups in the industry, such as women, who bring skill sets that are critical to this industry’s future growth.”

While women have represented approximately 10 percent of the information security workforce for the past few years, analysis from the last two (ISC)2 information security workforce surveys shows that women are quickly converging on men in terms of academic focus, computer science and engineering, and, as a gender, have a higher concentration of advanced degrees. For example, women in information security are making their largest impact in governance, risk and compliance (GRC) – which the study identified as a growing role in information assurance and cybersecurity – as one out of five women identified GRC as their primary functional responsibility compared to one out of eight men holding similar positions.

Key findings from the report include:

  • GRC is one of the fasting growing information security roles where women tend to dominate.
  • Women possess key character traits that enable them to succeed in GRC roles.
  • The percentage of women with either a Master’s or Doctorate degree are strong, with 58 percent of women having advanced degrees versus 47 percent of men.
  • In the GRC subgroup of respondents, women’s average annual salary was 4.7 percent less than men. Interesting to point out is the difference men and women place on the importance of monetary compensation. Men value monetary compensation slightly over women who look for other incentives from their employers (i.e. flexible schedules).
  • Women are more progressive in their views on training methods. Offering increased accessibility and wider diversity of information security training opportunities may prove to be increasingly valuable in retention and in elevating professionals’ readiness to succeed in new roles.

The full ‘Women in Security: Wisely Positioned for Future of InfoSec’ report can be downloaded here (PDF).



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