In this internet era, companies and individuals alike are facing cybersecurity threats that include ransomware, phishing attacks, sensitive data leaks, identity theft, privacy invasion, and more. These ever-present and rapidly evolving threats have usurped security and privacy concerns within organizations large and small.
Companies worldwide are heavily investing in cybersecurity to protect customer data and prevent any security breaches.
According to Cybersecurity Ventures research in 2019, there will be 3.5 million unfilled cybersecurity jobs by 2021, enough to fill 50 NFL stadiums. The cybersecurity unemployment rate is at 0 percent and has been so since 2011.
Yet still, women currently only represent 20 percent of the cybersecurity workforce. Thanks to various diversity and inclusion organizations that have created awareness on how a diverse and inclusive workforce can bring in various perspectives, and contribute to a more efficient and progressive workplace, we women find ourselves is an opportune time to explore, enter, and take over the cybersecurity space.
How can I help a fellow woman?
It is important that we women see ourselves as equally qualified candidates for open positions in cybersecurity and get over any impostor syndrome that may be getting in our way to applying for open positions, be it entering the workforce or climbing up the ladder.
It is equally important that women create space and opportunity for other women through mentorship, support groups, and innovation. Organizations like Girls who Code and Women in Cybersecurity (WiCyS) provide a vital platform for women and allies to encourage and engage women all over the world to learn, collaborate, share, mentor, and support each other in this exciting journey through the technology and cybersecurity space.
How can companies support women?
Companies can play a significant role in bridging the diversity gap by supporting organizations like these and investing in building STEM capabilities through the early stages of education, and partnering with and sponsoring scholarships and internships in the field of cybersecurity.
I highly recommend and encourage recruiters and hiring managers to build gender-neutral recruitment processes by accepting gender-blind resumes while hiring for open positions, and promoting from within the organization.
Another often overlooked area of opportunity is in training and supporting women who are looking to return to the workforce after a long break. A rising number of companies are recognizing this potential and capitalizing on it.