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Women Represent Just 11 Percent Of The InfoSec Workforce

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A survey finds that women in the industry have the same experience and technical background as men, but a broader range of skills

Research published by the International Information Systems Security Certification Consortium, better known as (ISC)2, suggests that there’s a severe shortage of women in the Information Security industry.

According to the report entitled “Agents of Change: Women in the Information Security Profession”, women account for just 11 percent of total InfoSec workforce, despite double-digit annual growth of the number of staff in this field.

“We need a broader and deeper level of education and engagement for women at a younger age before we can realise the level of impact required to solve the workforce shortage,” said Julie Peeler, director of the (ISC)² Foundation.

Agents of change

The survey of more than 5,800 respondents authored by Frost & Sullivan and sponsored by Symantec found that there are more than twice as many men as women working as network security specialists or software architects, and a higher proportion of men hold security engineer and network administrator job titles.

ISC2However, the report also found that there are more women than men in the consultant, advisor and analyst positions. The 2013 Global Information Security Workforce Study identified “security analyst” as the role in highest demand among InfoSec employers. According to (ISC)2, this trend could lead towards a stronger female presence in the industry.

The study found that men and women working in the industry have a similar level of job experience, and receive the same average annual salary in executive, managing, and strategic advisor positions –  around $105,000.

The surveyed women believe that a successful information security professional should maintain a variety of skills, while men think technical skills should take priority. Female employees as a group also have a more diverse academic background than men.

“The report data indicates that the perspectives of women offer viewpoints needed to elevate the security industry to the next level,” commented Michael Suby, author of the report and vice president of research at Frost & Sullivan.

“As our research reveals, women leaders are the strongest proponents of security and risk management education and training in the industry. This type of mentality is crucial to building standards in the industry and echoes the report’s findings that women are indeed, ‘agents of change’ in the future of information security.”

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