As the number of cyber-attacks continues to grow each year, the importance of cybersecurity and the need for cybersecurity practitioners will also continue to increase.
As previously stated, Researchers at Cybersecurity Ventures detailed in a 2019 post there would be 3.5 million unfilled cybersecurity positions globally in 2021, but with the addition of 700,000 additional skilled practitioners according to a Cybersecurity Workforce Study that entered the field this year, the projected number has dropped to approximately 3,21 million.
This is encouraging data and it seems we are moving in a position direction as the numbers have actually fallen for the first time since data on this matter has been collected.
To continue to effectively reduce the cybersecurity job gap, we should look towards STEM and the underrepresented group of young women and girls.
Women make up only 28% of the workforce in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), and men vastly outnumber women majoring in most STEM fields in college.
Key factors perpetuating the women STEM gap:
- Gender Stereotypes: STEM fields are often viewed as masculine.
- Male-Dominated Cultures: Because fewer women study and work in STEM, these fields tend to perpetuate inflexible, exclusionary, male-dominated cultures that are not supportive of or attractive to women and minorities.
- Fewer Role Models: girls have fewer role models to inspire their interest in these fields, seeing limited examples of female scientists and engineers in books, media and popular culture. There are even fewer role models of Black women in math and science.
Some ways of closing the STEM Gap for women are:
- Raise awareness that girls and women are as capable as boys — when given encouragement and educational opportunities.
- Promote public awareness to parents about how they can encourage daughters as much as sons in math and science
- Supporting learning opportunities and positive messages about their abilities.
- Provide professional education to teachers — addressing implicit and systemic biases.
- Encourage girls and women to take math and science classes — including advanced classes.
- Design courses and change environments and practices in STEM studies to be more welcoming for women.
- Prioritize diverse, inclusive and respectful environments, and strong, diverse leadership.
- Recruit female employees and work to retain and promote women throughout their careers with strong advancement pipelines and continued professional development and leadership training.