More and more women are opting for careers in the cybersecurity industry, representing 24% of the workforce, but challenges like wage inequality are still rife.
According to the 2019 Women in Cybersecurity report from (ISC)² - a non-profit association of certified cybersecurity professionals – the new influx of women are also making their mark in C-suite positions.
Some 45% of women surveyed are millennials, compared to just 33% of men, and while men still outnumber women by about three to one overall, women also bring higher levels of education to cybersecurity. More women (52%) in the survey hold a post-graduate degree than their male counterparts (44%).
According to survey respondents, higher percentages of women than men are also attaining senior leadership and decision-making positions.
(ISC)² CEO David Shearer said: "Women in high-level positions will foster more inclusion and inspire young women to join the industry, and there are certainly many exciting opportunities available for those seeking to inspire a safe and secure cyber world. Diversity only makes us stronger."
But while there is evidence of progress as more women enter into and succeed in the field of cybersecurity, the report also indicates that pay inequities persist. Some 17% of women globally reported annual salaries between $50,000 (£38,000) and $90,000 (£68,000), compared to 29% of men.
Meanwhile 15% of women earn between $100,000 (£76,000) and $499,999 (£380,000), while 20% of men earn at least that much.
For all their differences, the report indicates that men and women share a lot of the same concerns about their roles, including lack of commitment from upper management, the reputation of their organisation, risk of seeing their job outsourced, lack of work/life balance, the threat of artificial intelligence (AI) reducing the need for cybersecurity workers and a lack of standardised cybersecurity terminology to effectively communicate within their organisations.
Jennifer Minella, vice president of engineering and security at Carolina Advanced Digital and chair of the (ISC)² board, said: "It’s an encouraging sign that more women are succeeding in cybersecurity and moving up through the ranks. For many years this hasn’t been the case, and we need to continue to do all we can to make ours a welcoming profession for the most talented and innovative individuals, regardless of gender."