When Forbes released its list of the top-paying jobs for women, it didn’t target careers requiring a security clearance. But the good news for women transitioning into the civilian workforce is this: Some of the top-earning professions for women require skills that are common to separating service members. And having an active security clearance means having better prospects to land those jobs.
Not surprisingly, jobs in IT continue to top the list for both opportunity and great pay. And while this is a good time for all female IT professionals to take advantage of the many doors that continue to open, it is an especially ripe time for those with a clearance.
“Women getting out of the military who have IT skills and a security clearance should market both these assets,” said Sally Daniel, V.P. Client Strategies, Venturion. “There is such a need for IT skills and it’s opening so many more opportunities for women. A security clearance is already valued within government agencies and among government contractors. But outside that sector, a clearance implies a certain credibility. It inspires confidence.”
Currently, women working as computer and information systems managers are among the top earners, with median incomes of around $80,000. They make up about a quarter of the profession. Applications and systems software developers rank eighth on the Forbes list, with a median income of just over $70,000. Women comprise 20 percent of this profession. Female computer systems analysts now rank tenth, earning $65,000 – up $7,000 over last year’s earnings.
The same applies to management positions, where there is a burgeoning market for women in careers like management analysts. They’re now earning annual incomes of $69,000, again, an increase of $7,000 over last year. According to Daniel, the numbers are rising and so is the value of a security clearance among civilian hiring managers.
“Hiring managers may not specifically be searching for a candidate with a security clearance, but it can definitely tip the scales in a competitive job market,” said Daniel. “The value of a clearance is also going to rise in the eyes of hiring managers the more the job requires access to confidential information.”
To keep those numbers moving forward, Daniel recommends women actively market their security clearances.
“Women should use LinkedIn.com and other social media tools to market their skills in the civilian sector, but the fact that they have a security clearance should definitely be part of their profile,” she said. “It’s an asset that will distinguish them.”