Encouraging more women to pursue cybersecurity careers is “mission-critical” to filling some of the 2.5 million open jobs worldwide and tackling a global shortage of tech skills, Microsoft has said.
Vasu Jakkal, Microsoft’s corporate vice president of security, compliance, identity and management, said women and people “with more diverse perspectives” were desperately needed in the cybersecurity industry to help address the evolving threat landscape and take pressure off of overburdened IT teams.
By bridging the gender gap in cybersecurity, where a lack of female representation is fuelling unequal pay and a lack of support for women, organizations can swiftly bridge organizational skill gaps as well as diversify operational thinking, which brings its own benefits in innovation and profitability, Jakkal said.
In 2021, women represented just 25% of the global cybersecurity workforce. A survey commissioned by Microsoft Security found that, while 83% of respondents believed there was an opportunity for women in cybersecurity, only 44% of female respondents felt sufficiently represented in the industry. Likewise, 54% of women said there was gender bias in the industry that results in unequal pay and support, compared to 45% of men.
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