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Women in cybersecurity are paid 21 per cent less than men, according to new research.

Despite more women working in cybersecurity, the research, Cybersecurity Workforce Study, conducted by (ISC)², found that women are paid, on average, 21 per cent less than their male counterparts globally.

The average salary for female cybersecurity employees in North America is just under $80,000, versus an average of around $96,500 for men. In Europe, the average salary for women is about $40,500 compared to $67,000 for men.

More women than men (22 per cent vs. 13 per cent) cited discrimination as a challenge they’ve experienced during their career. However, in other areas, such as “unclear career path opportunities,” “lack of available cybersecurity positions” and “cost of cybersecurity certifications,” men and women respondents were never more than five percentage points apart.

The study did find some positives for women in cybersecurity. The research found that higher percentages of women in cybersecurity already planned to work in the field even before starting in the profession – and that interest in pursuing cybersecurity education is substantially higher among women under the age of 45. 68 per cent of women in cybersecurity polled by (ISC)2 also said they plan to stay in the field for the remainder of their careers.

The study also reveals that a majority of women cybersecurity professionals are successfully progressing in their careers. Nearly one-third said they are “exactly where I was expecting to be with my career,” compared to 20 per cent of men. 33 per cent of women say they are “very close” and 22 per cent “moderately close” to where they expected to be.

The (ISC)² Cybersecurity Workforce Study is conducted annually to assess the cybersecurity workforce gap, better understand the barriers facing the cybersecurity profession and uncover strategies that organisations can use to recruit, build and strengthen their cybersecurity teams.

Speaking about the research, Agata Nowakowska, AVP EMEA at Skillsoft said, “Whilst progress is under way for pay equality for women, it’s by no way complete.”

“The scrutiny faced by organisations such as the BBC for having such a huge discrepancy in gender and BAME pay scales, has brought a welcome light to this issue.”

“In fact, 2020 has already seen headlines on how the BBC presenter Samira Ahmed successfully won a case against the BBC over unequal pay.”

“We need to see more of this.”

“What can we do to speed up change?”

“Organisations need to stand up and address this issue head on.”

“Women should not have to question if they are being paid the same amount as a male colleague with the same role and responsibilities.”

“If companies really care about equal pay – they should know that offering equal pay is a benefit to everyone.”

“We also need to teach about gender equality within schools.”

“Both boys and girls need to learn to regard themselves as equal and they are both capable of taking up any role, whether that’s in STEM or leadership.”

“Educating children at a young age is the only way to remove unconscious bias that affects us later on in our professional working life.”


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