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Why demand for women in Cyber Security is growing

Today, as we celebrate International Women's Day and this year's theme of #embraceequity, we recognise that cyber security is an industry in which greater gender diversity could make an impact.

Promoted by UNSW Online
Wed, 08 Mar 2023
Why demand for women in Cyber Security is growing
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According to stats from The (ISC)² Cybersecurity Workforce Study women held just 24 per cent of cybersecurity jobs in 2022. The good news, though, is it’s an increase from the 10 per cent reported in 2013. This growth is predicted to continue, with recent studies revealing that the percentage of women in cyber security positions will reach.

“One of the biggest myths about cyber security is that most people working in it are men, wearing hoodies, sitting in a dark room, not talking to anyone. This couldn’t be further from the truth,” says Lynwen Connick, Chief Information Security Officer at ANZ.

Cyber criminals use different methods to commit these crimes, so having diversity in cyber security operations can help stop them. And in the spirit of International Women’s Day, cyber security may be worth considering as a rewarding career path.

Increasing demand for women in cyber security

As one of the fastest-growing, highest-paying fields globally, the cyber security industry in Australia needs 25,000 more specialists by 2032 to close its skills gap.

The lack of cyber security experts at a time of cyber security growth is now significantly impacting the ability of businesses to curtail cyber threats. To better understand why cyber security is important, we need only look at the recent fallout following the Optus and Medibank data breaches.

To stem the growing tide of cyber crime, we need to address the gender disparity within the industry. In doing so, it would inject the industry with a greater breadth of experience and with the technical and soft skills it needs to improve.

“Cyber security is a rapidly growing industry, and we’re thrilled to support more women to take up new jobs and new careers in cyber,” says Jaala Pulford, Victoria’s Minister for Innovation, Medical Research and the Digital Economy. With events like International Women’s Day, cyber security and other less diverse industries can receive the acknowledgement they need.

The importance of diversity in cyber security

Creating diverse and inclusive teams will lead to more intelligent, more innovative cyber security solutions, better decision-making and increased multifaceted leadership.

“Diverse workforces are stronger workforces. Our Cyber Strategy 2021 is supporting programs that deliver on diversity, bringing more women into crucial roles to build a more robust and representative cyber industry,” says Danny Pearson, Victoria’s Minister for Government Services.

Research reveals that diverse teams often have higher levels of effectiveness and cohesion. Simply put, diversity amongst cyber security experts may mean better business outcomes, stronger productivity and greater profitability.

Successful technology companies like Facebook, Apple, YouTube and Airbnb, as well as business and government organisations, demonstrate the value of an increasing number of women taking the initiative in various professions.

How should women get started in cyber security?

The reality is that there are as many entry points for women into cyber security as there are willing organisations to choose amongst. But in today’s rapidly changing global tech landscape, you need advanced knowledge to manage and respond to privacy risks across large datasets.

Thankfully, there are cyber security courses, like the online Master of Cyber Security from UNSW that can help you confidently step into this career. Leading academics developed UNSW Online’s Master of Cyber Security to meet the industry’s needs and with the flexibility of being 100% online, it’s one of the best programs to consider for those looking for careers in cyber security.

Professor Mary-Anne Williams, a researcher at UNSW, says it’s essential to build an environment that supports and engages women. “We’ve got to pave the path for women. Leadership doesn’t come to you — you go to leadership. And there are steps you’ve got to take; you have to be persistent. And if it’s not a level playing field, that just makes it extremely difficult,” she says.

Be the change

Cyber security is an industry that could benefit from a more diverse workforce, including more women. To celebrate International Women’s Day, consider what a career in this area could mean for you.

Speak with UNSW Online’s team of enrolment advisors on 1300 974 990 or download a program guide at www.studyonline.unsw.edu.au to find out how you can identify, mitigate and defend against cyber challenges in this fast-growing field.

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