Are Women the Answer to the Cybersecurity Skills Gap?


Information security is one of the most important and fastest growing professions in the world, possessing a near-zero unemployment rate, but also a worker shortfall that grows larger every year. Most organisations admit that bridging the industry’s skills gap, while attracting women into cybersecurity is crucial; yet female participation has remained static since I began working with our Global Information Security Workforce Study programme in 2004.

When we first began benchmarking the development of the cybersecurity workforce, analysts projected a double-digit growth that has since been realised. Today we forecast a skills gap projected to reach a shortage of 1.8 million by 2022. The obvious implication being here that the trend can’t be explained by a lack of available jobs: hiring managers participating in the study admit that they struggle for as long as six months to fill positions.

Additionally, new research from (ISC)²’s charitable arm, the Center for Cyber Safety and Education™, found that women comprised only 8% of the UK’s information security workforce – a number that has been stagnant since 2013. The study also suggested that initiatives to attract women aren’t proactive enough or that the profession isn’t as committed to building the balanced and sustainable workforce as it claims to be.

But if the level of women in information security were to double, it would fill the anticipated workforce gap. The clear need for talent makes the apparent lack of progress on this front baffling.

Join the conversation as industry leaders discuss why we struggle to attract more women into information security

Next month, a global panel of industry thought leaders from the USA, Australia and UK will each bring their unique perspectives to the table while exploring and debating the recent findings from our Global Information Security Workforce Study; as well as discussing concrete steps in closing that imminent cybersecurity workforce gap.

The Frost & Sullivan webinar Women in Cyber: Why Can’t We Attract Them? will feature leading information security experts, including Jarad Carleton (Principal Consultant – Digital Transformation Practice, Frost & Sullivan), Richard Horne (Partner – Cyber Security, PwC UK), Professor Jill Slay (Director – ACCS, UNSW Canberra), Lynn Terwoerds (Executive Director, Executive Women’s Forum) and Vicki Gavin (Head of Business Continuity Information Security and Data Privacy, The Economist Group), who will be examining many of the issues faced by the sector and females, including equality challenges for women in the profession. They will also put forward proposed recommendations that will endeavor to offer equal opportunities for all professionals, such as compulsory quantitative key performance indicators to bring about a gender-balanced workforce.

Only by developing the profile of our workforce should we be able to attain a truer reflection of talent and fulfill the needs of our digital society. It will be interesting to see whether companies answer the call for progress within the industry, as well as the experts’ take on how this can be achieved.

Lyndsay Turley
Head of Comms & Public Affairs, (ISC)² EMEA


Webinar details: Women in Cyber: Why Can’t We Attract Them?

A Global Information Security Workforce Study debate

Wednesday, 3rd May 2017 – 1:00 PM BST / 8:00 AM EDT

To submit a question that will be answered live during the briefing, please email: [email protected].

Register for this event  and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

[(ISC)² Blog]

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