Cybercrime is increasing all the time. In response to that, demand for cyber security talent is expected to rise to 6 million jobs globally by 2019. However, that demand is proving challenging for businesses, due to the lack of proven experts in the field. This is a general problem, exacerbated by the lack of women currently working in the industry. But why are so few females getting into cyber security? And what can be done in order to change this? These are two questions which need to be seriously considered as the industry continues its growth, and demand for professionally qualified individuals intensifies.
What is deterring females from entering the field?
There has been a long running perception that the technology industry is male orientated. Despite not being anything new, this is now proving a significant obstacle to women who may have otherwise looked to enter the cyber security industry. They are believing the stereotypes, preventing them from pursuing a career in the field. Another contributor to the problem is the language that is often used to describe the industry, with the technical terms used seen to be aimed more at males. Again though, this goes back to the problem of perception. Until this changes, familiar shortages will continue to be felt.
What can be done to change this?
As established above, a major cause of the shortage of women in cyber security is perception. Therefore, the emphasis should be placed on altering the stereotypes within the younger generation, through education. It can be difficult to change the views of the established workforce, but young people can be influenced to a greater degree. As a result, more female students should be encouraged to tackle technology subjects at school, which will enable them to develop, and become more confident, in their skills. They should also be made more aware of the range of opportunities available to them in the field, making technology seem like a genuine career option for them.
Employers should also be making changes to their mindset in relation to recruiting women to fill their roles in cyber security. The hiring process currently features assumptions and unintentional biases that are preventing females from entering the field. More employers should be looking to offer training courses to aid the development of potential new staff members who may not have the complete skillset right away. This would help more females in entering the industry, with the carrot of career progression on offer.
Only 11% of the world’s information security workforce is made up of women, with the global share of women in cyber roles at present being just 10%. Need we say more?