Women in Cybersecurity: How To Attract and Retain Female Cybersecurity Talent

In 2013, a study conducted by Frost & Sullivan showed that women represented just 11% of the worldwide cybersecurity workforce. Six years later, in March 2019, Cybercrime Magazine concluded that this had increased to 20% of the cybersecurity workforce, and if this was to continue it would take another 20 years to achieve a truly gender-balanced sector. 

With this in mind, Cybersecurity is said to be a skills gap in more than half of UK businesses, and has an unemployment rate of zero, making it a career path with guaranteed employment.

But how can we attract more women Into the sector?

  • Removing Gender Bias

To encourage women and future generations to consider cybersecurity careers, we need to move away from the male bias in technology.

We spoke to Will Bourne, Founder of Rekall Consulting and author of the Rekall Guide to Diversity and Inclusion:

“Removing gender bias to attract candidates is a process of rethinking your candidate attraction and employer branding as it is. Simple changes can include ensuring your team photos or careers website photos are inclusive, not only including the males in the team. Your employer brand and culture need to be reviewed from an external point of view. This should include a review of your job descriptions and advertisements, removing any gender bias or masculine language. Tools such as Gender Decoder are great ways to remove subtle bias. Furthermore, there’s evidence that some women, for example, don’t apply for a role unless they can fulfill nearly all the criteria, therefore adding in non-essential criteria may deter applications. All processes in hiring should be reviewed to truly attract diverse talent and start removing gender bias.”

  • Partner with Universities and Colleges

Recent data showed that only 21.4% of UK GCSE computing entries identified as female. In order to increase this companies should work alongside local schools and universities to educate female students, introducing them to female tech leaders as inspiration.

For long-term hiring strategies, organizations should think about partnering with Universities, Colleges, and Schools early to provide insights into cybersecurity careers, and provide work experience and internships.

  • Provide greater flexibility

Covid-19 has seen companies providing full flexibility to employees. But as we start to see the world go back to normal, companies trying to attract top female technology talent should keep their flexible working options open.

This is not only more appealing to working parents but opens the door to hiring talent outside of your usual commuter zone, therefore giving you the opportunity to hire female talent remotely.

  • Close the gender pay gap

The gender pay gap exists across a number of industries, including technology. An initiative to help close this is ESET’s own Women in Cybersecurity Scholarship, which has been awarding a $5,000 scholarship to women pursuing a college-level degree to embark on a career in cybersecurity. Initiatives like this are great tools for employer branding, candidate attraction, and the overall culture of a business.

Although the cybersecurity gender gap exists, companies are working with EquallyPlaced.com and our partners to attract diverse talent to their teams to help close this gap sooner. To find out more on how we can help, contact us at hello@equallyplaced.com.