Bridging the gender gap in Cybersecurity: Women as the missing link to a $2 Trillion market

23rd October 2023
Bridging the gender gap in Cybersecurity: Women as the missing link to a $2 Trillion market
Graphic by on Freepik

By Uma Pendyala,     Head Business Ops, SecurEyes        
October 23, 2023: As the digital economy continues to expand, the prevalence of digital crime is also rising. In the face of escalating cyber threats, organizations worldwide allocated approximately $150 billion towards cybersecurity in 2021, representing a yearly growth rate of 12.4 per cent. With a mere 10 per cent market penetration of security solutions today, McKinsey estimates the total opportunity to range between a staggering $1.5 trillion to $2.0 trillion within the addressable market. These dynamics underscore substantial potential in an evolving market amidst talent shortage and skilled workforce.
Job Prospects
According to data from Cybersecurity Ventures, global cybersecurity job openings surged by a mammoth 350 per cent, jumping from one million vacancies in 2013 to 3.5 million in 2021. As of 2023, the number of unfilled cybersecurity positions has remained steady at 3.5 million, with more than 750,000 of these roles located in the United States. The industry has made efforts to attract new talent and address the issue of burnout, but it's expected that the demand for cybersecurity professionals will continue to outpace the supply until 2025.
Despite the challenges facing the tech industry, cybersecurity stands out as an area with almost zero unemployment for individuals with extensive expertise. This scarcity of skilled professionals places an additional security burden on IT teams, as every IT role now carries a cybersecurity component. Staff must undergo training to stay updated on modern threat awareness, encompassing phishing, social engineering, Business Email Compromise (BEC), and financial fraud. Moreover, they must possess the knowledge and skills to safeguard and defend applications, data, devices, infrastructure, and people.
The landscape has evolved to the point where every IT position now inherently includes a cybersecurity dimension. Consequently, every IT and technology professional should be actively engaged, to some extent, in the protection and defence of applications, data, devices, infrastructure, and individuals.
Women Workforce, The Missing Link
An existing cyber-talent shortage, compounded by the intensification of digital threats, has created further growth opportunities for service providers to fully staff their organizations. According to a report by TeamLease Services, India is expected to face a shortage of over 1.5 million cybersecurity jobs by 2025. Despite this, women are still underrepresented in the cybersecurity sector, with only around 11% of the workforce expected to be female by 2025.
This is a significant problem, as the cybersecurity industry is growing rapidly, and there is a high demand for skilled professionals. If more women do not enter the field, India will face a serious talent shortage in the future.
It is important to encourage more women to pursue careers in cybersecurity. Women bring a unique perspective and set of skills to the field, and they are essential to building a more resilient and secure digital world.
That is why there is a need for more female role models in the sector and more awareness and education about cybersecurity careers among young women. By taking these steps, we can help to close the gender gap in cybersecurity and build a more diverse and inclusive workforce.
Why So Few Women in Cybersecurity Jobs
There are a number of reasons why women are underrepresented in cybersecurity. One reason is that the field is still perceived as being male-dominated. Another reason is that there is a lack of awareness of cybersecurity careers among young women. Additionally, many women are discouraged from entering cybersecurity due to a lack of role models and mentors. The sector needs more female role models to attract and motivate women to take cybersecurity jobs.
Here are some ways to encourage more women to enter the cybersecurity field:

·        Educate young women about cybersecurity careers and the opportunities available in the field.

·        Provide role models and mentors for young women interested in cybersecurity.

·        Create a more inclusive and welcoming environment for women in the cybersecurity industry.

·        Support women-led cybersecurity initiatives and organizations.

By taking these steps, we can help to close the gender gap in cybersecurity and build a more diverse and inclusive workforce.
Women Have A Bright Future In Cybersecurity in India
As the country's digital infrastructure grows, so does the need for skilled cybersecurity professionals. Women are well-positioned to meet this demand, with increasing support from educational institutions, industry leaders, and the government.
Deloitte and DSCI are two organizations working to address this issue by offering programs and initiatives to encourage and support women in cybersecurity. Deloitte has a "Women in Cyber" program to increase diversity in its cybersecurity workforce. The firm also focuses on introducing cybersecurity curriculum in non-engineering colleges.
The Data Security Council of India (DSCI) is also doing its part to upskill women in cybersecurity through its exclusive program for women. According to a cybersecurity skills report by DSCI & FutureSkills Prime, there are over 50,000 open cybersecurity jobs in India.
By addressing the challenges and promoting diversity and inclusion, India can harness the full potential of its female cybersecurity professionals. It will strengthen the nation's cybersecurity defences and create a brighter, more inclusive future for the industry.
Here are some specific examples of the opportunities available to women in cybersecurity in India:
Educational institutions are offering more cybersecurity programs and scholarships for women. For example, the Indian government has launched the CyberShikshaa Initiative to train and empower women in cybersecurity.
Industry leaders recognize the importance of diversity and inclusion in their cybersecurity teams. Many companies now offer mentorship programs and other support initiatives for female cybersecurity professionals.
The government is taking steps to promote cybersecurity awareness and education among women. For example, the Indian government has launched the National Cyber Space Security Policy, which focuses on increasing women's participation in the cybersecurity workforce.
With these opportunities available, women can build rewarding careers in cybersecurity in India. By leveraging their skills and talents, they can play a vital role in protecting the country's digital infrastructure and ensuring cybersecurity.