A joint report from consultants Booz Allen Hamilton and security experts ISC squared found that women only make up ten per cent of the information security workforce and are therefore vastly under-represented.
The study found that the ten per cent figure has remained despite evidence 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”.
David Shearer, chief executive of ISC squared, said: “The information security field is expected to see a deficit of 1.5m professionals by 2020 if we don’t take proactive measures to close the gap.
“Knowing this, it is rather frustrating to realise that we do not have more women working in the industry. Only ten per cent per cent of information security professionals are women and that needs to change.”
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Indeed, the report said that 50 per cent of women in the industry have advanced degrees compared to 47 per cent of men.
The study found that women in information security are making their largest impact in governance, risk and compliance (GRC) – which has as an ever increasing role in information assurance and cybersecurity.
One out of five women identified GRC as their primary functional responsibility compared to one out of eight men holding similar positions.
Angela Messer, the executive VP leading Booz Allen’s predictive intelligence business in the firm’s Strategic Innovation Group, added: “The adaptive nature of cyber threats demands a talent management strategy that will broaden the skill-sets and knowledge of the information security profession.
“We must demonstrate to young women thinking about entering the industry the many opportunities that await them and reinforce for those currently working in cybersecurity that they have bright futures ahead.”
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