Cyber Security is a well-paid, diverse industry, growing on a global scale. Yet there is a skills shortage when it comes to females employed in the industry. The shortage of women in cybersecurity continues.
According to a recent study, the global cybersecurity workforce needs to grow 145% in order to meet the immediate demands of businesses.
An earlier study from ISC in 2018 found that women comprised only 11% of the industry workforce, a figure that has stagnated over the past few years. But a more recent survey shows more
Add to this the fact that in the industry, women have on average higher levels of education than men, with 51 percent holding a master’s degree or higher, compared to just 45 percent of men. Yet despite that fact, those who are working earn, a lower average annual salary than their male colleagues.
In this article, we’re not looking at what the causes of this major gender-discrepancy might be. Instead, we’re offering a few simple steps for businesses in the Cyber Security industry to take, which can help attract more female staff.
1. Run Webinars
Webinars are a great way of raising awareness and boosting recognition of your business, while simultaneously focusing on recruiting women to your business.
In the last year, the use of webinars and video conferencing has skyrocketed, and in 2019 (as a means of recruitment) increased by 49%.
Many organizations currently use webinars purely as a means of introducing their brand or the services they offer.
You can increase your applicant pool and the possibilities of attracting female applicants by sharing informative content.
Consider using webinars that announce new job opportunities and highlight the advantages of your business as a welcoming, accepting, and supportive place to work – regardless of gender or background.
This shouldn’t just be a webinar that brags about how amazing your business is! But it should highlight all the perks which employees at your business gain.
If you have a current female employee, use her as an example of how women can succeed in cybersecurity, for example:
- Salary package
- Mentoring and education
- Promotion opportunities
- Work/Life balance
The other advantage of using webinars as a recruitment tool is that you don’t have to go through the same questions and info individually with each interested candidate.
Recording your webinars and adding them as a resource to your website will showcase to visitors your goal of becoming a Cyber Security workplace that actively welcomes women.
2. Launch a podcast on the topic
Regardless of whether you already run a podcast series or not, this is a fantastic way of reaching out to large audiences with your message.
Who doesn’t love a good podcast about jobs in our “new normal” job world?
If you are new to podcasting, being a featured guest on specific podcasts related to Cyber Security, Data Protection, Information Security and Privacy, or indeed to women in tech industries, could be a great place to start spreading your message – check out Listen Notes to find the podcast for your business.
As with the webinar option, you should use the podcast platform as a way of showing the advantages and attractions of your business – without simply bragging about your inclusivity in the workplace!
People who download a podcast will be on the move, usually doing something else at the same time, so make your time count. Build a narrative that tells a story about your business:
– What the challenge was (e.g. lack of female employees in the business)
– The advantages of overcoming the challenge (e.g. greater balance, workplace diversity)
What you have done/are doing to overcome the challenge (e.g. work/life balance, promotion opportunities, salary packages, etc).
3. Create a Video of Women in the Field
When it comes to social media, there is hardly a better way of getting your message across than video.
As with the other mediums we’ve discussed, you want your videos to showcase what your business does, or the steps you are taking, to be an inclusive tech workspace that welcomes female employees.
Check out this example from KPMG of how to attract female clients to Cyber Security:
Thinking from your persona’s perspective, what would make them click on your video and find out more? The prime example is an existing story you can already tell.
Your video should aim to show the success story of a female employee and what your business did to facilitate that success. Let the viewer put themselves in the subject’s shoes.
Bear in mind though, when it comes to social media video, 85% are watched with the sound off and you are constantly competing against multiple distractions.
Keep your video short and sweet, and create subtitles that hold the viewer’s attention from the outset.
4. Recruit Female College Grads
If you want to hire new college grads for positions in your business, a targeting strategy that reaches them on social media will help to spread the message.
Tailor the message of your business to this new audience. Recent information technology graduates, looking to get into the world of cybersecurity, information security or data protection will not much experience in the job-hunting process.
Publish content on your website and social media that explains your company goals and ethics, and outlines the ease of application for these new grads.
If you don’t already, consider running internships that offer paid training and bonus on completion – and build this into narratives of successful female applicants.
Colleges like Harvard host annual events for their Master’s and Ph.D. students. These virtual career fairs allow employers like you to connect with top-notch future or recent graduates.
5. Look For Internal Employees Ready For Change
Many companies have female employees with transferable skills in departments such as HR, finance, and legal. There are many women looking to make a career change and make more money.
Businesses could offer to pay for cybersecurity training and certifications which would, in turn, help build a cyber-strong organization.
6. Adapt Your Content
Our final recommendation is to adapt the message you are giving out by changing your content.
It could be the smallest of changes that make the biggest of differences. Perhaps the images on your site or social media pages only depict men – even if they are just stock images.
Maybe the content you produce refers to all clients as males: ‘he wanted this’ or ‘he achieved these results’.
Adjusting your message to include more mention of women in your business can contribute towards building the brand image you are after.
Include images, videos, and interviews of female professionals, change the gender in your content to reflect what ‘she’ wanted or what you achieved for ‘her’.
Attracting Women to the Cyber Security Industry
It’s no small feat to change the perception of a male-dominated industry. STEM industries, and Cyber Security, in particular, have historically failed to draw female applicants on a global scale.
But information security and data protection now have more interest than ever. More women are looking into the industry as a potential career opportunity.
Taking some of the recommendations mentioned in this article on board can help you to build your social media presence, and send your message to an influencer that helps recruit and support women in the industry.
The demand for female employees in Cyber Security is large. If you can show what you offer that makes you stand out of the crowd, you can reap the rewards, and set the trend to becoming a representative and more diverse tech business.
About the author:
Ben Culpin is a content marketer for WakeupData, a data feed management company driven by its mission to help empower e-commerce businesses. He specializes in creating valuable, actionable content that will save online merchants time and money. Check out the WakeupData blog and connect with him on LinkedIn and Twitter.
This article has been updated on October 13, 2020, by Audrey DeSisto
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