Despite a steep increase of women in cybersecurity jobs, many women are still making less than their male counterparts. A recent study called (ISC)² Cybersecurity Workforce Study: Women in Cybersecurity, provided both encouraging and frustrating data for women interested in pursuing a career in cybersecurity.

THE GOOD NEWS for women in cybersecurity

According to  the data, women now represent 24% of  the cybersecurity workforce (compared to 11% from previous studies), and 35% are Millennial or Gen Y (compared to less than 20% from previous studies). The studies show growing numbers of young women interested in pursuing a career in the male-dominated tech industry.

This tremendous growth of women in the cybersecurity field was attributed to several reasons, including being exposed to technology at an earlier age, receiving encouragement from female role models already successful in the industry, and being guided toward technology fields from guidance counsellors and teachers.

In the past, cybersecurity was seen as male-centric field, but culture and attitude changes have created increased interest in the field by girls and young women. The hope is the large growth will continue.

The study also showed that proportionately women fill more leadership roles than men, and sit higher on the corporate hierarchy. For example, 11% of women report to the vice president of IT versus 6% of men, and 19% report to the IT security director versus 14% of men.


The unfortunate side of this data is that despite the increase of women in the cybersecurity field, the gender pay gaps haven’t improved.

According to the (ISC)² study, overall, women still earn less than men. While nearly 30% of men in the U.S. make between $50,000 to $99,999, only 17% of women do. 20% of men make $100,000-plus, while 16% of women do. Overall, women make $5,000 less than men in security management positions.


The hopeful news, according to the study, is that “globally, younger women face less severe pay discrepancy than older women.”

The data also showed 21% of millennial women earn between $50,000 and $99,999 compared to 29% of men of the same generation. Yet, only 10% of women baby boomers earn this much compared to 30% of baby boomer men.

There was a 12% gap in the number of Generation X women earning $50,000 to $99,999 compared to men of the same generation, and another 12% gap in the number of baby boomer women earning more than $100,000 compared to baby boomer men. One of the narrowest gaps in pay was the 3% lead millennial women hold over millennial men earning more than $100,000.

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Diana M. Rodriguez is a native Washingtonian who works as a professional freelance writer, commentator, and blogger; as well as a public affairs, website content and social media manager for the Department of Defense.