While the global job market has been hit hard by the pandemic, cybersecurity job recruitment thrived in 2020. According to a new global report from human layer security company Tessian, titled 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.
Women In Cybersecurity Roles Thrived During 2020
Nearly half (49%) of women cybersecurity professionals in the U.S and U.K. also said Covid-19 had a positive impact on their career, with just 9% saying the pandemic negatively impacted their job. In addition, 89% of women working in cybersecurity said they feel secure in their jobs.
There is, however, work to be done to encourage more women to join this thriving industry and change perceptions of the industry among Generation Z. As part of the report, Tessian surveyed college graduates aged 18-25 years old and found that men in this age group were more likely to consider a job in cybersecurity - 42% versus 26% of women.
When female cybersecurity professionals were asked what would encourage more women into cybersecurity roles, equal pay topped the list with 47% of the global respondents saying this would help bridge the gender gap. This was especially true in the U.S. with 73% of U.S. respondents citing equal pay as necessary. It was closely followed by “more female diverse models” (44%), “a gender-balanced workforce” (43%) and “a greater emphasis on STEM subjects in schools” (41%).
Diversifying the security industry would have huge societal and economic benefits. A previous Tessian revealed that an additional $12.7 billion would be added to the U.S. economy if the number of women working in cybersecurity rose to equal that of men.
Encouraging Gen Zs To Join
Cybersecurity has piqued the interest of Gen Z, with over three-quarters (76%) of 18-25 year olds surveyed saying cybersecurity is interesting and 88% recognize the field as important. Despite these high levels of interest, less than one-third (31%) would consider a job in the industry.
Nearly half (45%) are not sure whether cybersecurity is the career for them, though. When asked why, many are worried that they don’t have the skills needed to thrive, while others are not sure how to navigate a career change.
These perceptions reinforce the need for greater awareness of the diverse skills required in cybersecurity, ways to get into the industry, and the range of roles and opportunities available to young professionals. This can be achieved by retiring inaccurate stereotypes, making diverse role models more visible, and encouraging a greater emphasis on STEM subjects in early-stage education.
“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,” said Sabrina Castiglione, Tessian’s Chief Financial Officer and Acting Head of Talent. “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.”
Read Tessian’s Opportunity in Cybersecurity 2021 Report here.