Women in Cybersecurity: Underrepresented, untapped potential

The needle has barely moved

Despite increased interest in cybersecurity as a career and a global shortage of professionals in the field – both male and female – the 2017 Global Information Security Workforce Study: Women in Cybersecurity demonstrates there is plenty of progress still to be made. Enterprise and government efforts to attract and retain more women in the global cybersecurity profession have not made a meaningful impact. This newly released study, conducted by the Center for Cyber Safety and Education™ and presented by the Executive Women’s Forum on Information Security, Risk Management & Privacy and (ISC)2®, and cosponsored by PwC, finds that the number of women working in the US information security field is 34 percentage points lower than the US average of women in the workforce (48% women are in the US workforce, compared to just 14% in the US information security workforce). That’s just one measurement of women’s underrepresentation in the cybersecurity industry; you can view others in the complete study.

Fostering women in industry — everywhere

For all these challenges, though, we envision a bright future ahead. Building a more diverse cybersecurity workforce will yield positive results, allowing us to bring more diverse perspectives to our clients – and each other. So how do we achieve this vision? Many highly skilled, much-sought-after cybersecurity professionals also often happen to be women. So employers must rethink how they are recruiting and retaining women cybersecurity professionals, with career development programs, mentorship, support networks and flexible work arrangements. These efforts can also help reduce the overall cybersecurity labor shortage – for men and women.

Of course, this issue isn’t limited to cybersecurity. Here at PwC, we regularly explore and foster workforce diversity and gender equality issues across all industries through our The Gender Agenda blog, our partnership with Sheryl Sandberg’s LeanIn.org non-profit organization, our work with the United Nations’ HeForShe program, and our active recruitment of women. 

Contact us

Sloane Menkes

Principal, Cybersecurity & Privacy, PwC US

Emily Stapf

Cybersecurity, Privacy & Forensics Integrated Solutions Leader, PwC US

Kelly Kitsch

Principal, PwC US

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