Women in tech

2020 Was a Bright Spot for Women in Cyber, Report Finds

While 2020 was certainly a challenging year, a new report found that nearly half of women in the cybersecurity field say COVID-19 positively affected their career, with only 9 percent saying the pandemic negatively impacted their job

The report, released today by Tessian, also found that the vast majority of women in cyber (89 percent) feel “secure” in their jobs. Additionally, while the global job market contracted in 2020, 94 percent of women surveyed hired new staff members last year to support their teams.

However, while women already in the cyber field are content, there is still work to be done to recruit more women to join the field. Tessian surveyed Generation Z college graduates and found that only 26 percent of women were considering joining the cybersecurity field, compared to 42 percent of men.

Women already in the cyber field offered their suggestions on how to make the field more appealing to women. At the top of the list was closing the pay gap. Nearly three-quarters (73 percent) of respondents cited equal pay as “necessary” to close the gender gap. Other suggestions were “more female diverse models” and “a greater emphasis on STEM subjects in schools.”

Closing the gender gap could have a massive impact on the U.S. economy. A previous Tessian report found that closing the gap would add $30.4 billion in the United States. Additionally, closing the gender pay gap in the U.S. would add an additional $12.7 billion.

The gender pay gap has been a longstanding concern. Last year, Dice, a career hub for technology professionals, found that women in the tech field are paid less and receive less of their desired benefits than their male counterparts, even when controlling for education, experience, occupation, and location. Moreover, the pay gap exists for both seasoned roles, such as software engineers, and fields that are rapidly expanding, such as data engineers – for both of those roles women make $9,000 a year less than men.

Outside of simply wanting to close the gender gap, companies have another source of motivation. A report from Uptime Institute found that companies that focus on closing the gender gap and commit to diverse and inclusive workplaces have more effective employee-ambassador recruitment, higher employee retention rates, and better employee career satisfaction scores.

Kate Polit
About Kate Polit
Kate Polit is MeriTalk SLG's Assistant Copy & Production Editor, covering Cybersecurity, Education, Homeland Security, Veterans Affairs