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01:40 PM

Gender Equality in Cybersecurity Could Drive Economic Boost

If the number of women in cybersecurity equaled the number of men, the US would see an economic gain up to $30.4 billion, research shows.

The global cybersecurity workforce must grow by 145% to meet demand, (ISC)² reports; more than 4 million jobs will be left unfilled if it doesn't. A new study finds closing the gender and skills gaps could boost the US and UK economies by $30.4 billion and £12.6 billion, respectively.

In a new study, Tessian researchers worked with the Centre of Economics and Business research, and polled and interviewed female cybersecurity practitioners, to analyze the economic effects of the gender gap and skills gap. They learned if both were minimized and the number of women in cybersecurity equaled the number of men, the total contribution of the cybersecurity industry could grow to reach $138.1 billion and £41.3 billion in the US and UK economies, respectively.

Addressing the wage gap between women and men could also drive an economic boost. If women in the industry earned as much as men, a change that 28% of women say could encourage more female talent to enter the industry, it could bring billions more. Women in the US earn 17% less than men; in the UK, the gender pay gap is 19%. If the salaries were equal, researchers say, the US economy would grow by $12.7 billion; the UK economy by £4.4 billion.

Two-thirds of women agree there is a gender gap in cybersecurity, but it isn't the only challenge they face. Other hurdles include lack of industry awareness, as reported by 43% of women on average, as well as lack of clear career paths (43%), lack of requisite skills (33%), and lack of role models (23%). Women in larger organizations (500+ employees) are nearly three times as likely to cite lack of gender balance as a challenge they've faced, researchers report.

Read more details here.

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