A new report claims that nearly half of women working in cybersecurity believe COVID-19 has affected their career in a positive way.
A new global report from human layer security company Tessian, published on International Women’s Day, says 49% held the view, with just 9% saying it has had a negative effect.
In fact, cybersecurity jobs appear to have weathered the pandemic storm as 94 per cent of women in cybersecurity said they recruited new staff members to help support their team in 2020.
In addition, 89 per cent of women working in the industry reported feeling secure in their jobs.
Despite the industry offering promising opportunities, there is still plenty of work to be done to encourage younger women to consider a career in cybersecurity. As part of the report, Tessian surveyed university graduates aged 18-25 years old and found that men in this age group were more likely to consider a job in cybersecurity – 42 per cent versus 26 per cent of women.
However, 87 per cent of younger women said that they found the industry “important” and 73 per cent said it was “interesting”.
When female cybersecurity professionals were asked what would encourage more women into cybersecurity roles, equal pay topped the list with 47 per cent of respondents saying this would help bridge the gender gap. This was closely followed by “more female diverse models” (44 per cent), “a gender-balanced workforce” (43 per cent) and “a greater emphasis on STEM subjects in schools” (41 per cent).
A significant percentage of Generation Z respondents were, however, on the fence when it came to considering a career in cybersecurity. Nearly half (45 per cent) are not sure whether cybersecurity is the career for them and 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.
Encouraging greater gender diversity in cybersecurity would have huge benefits, though. A previous Tessian revealed that an additional £4.4 billion would be added to the UK economy if the number of women working in cybersecurity rose to equal that of men.
“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 recognises that it’s important,” said Tessian CFO and acting head of talent Sabrina Castiglione.
“So now we need to show more women and girls how they can explore the opportunities available to them.
“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.”