Cybersecurity Careers: Do Women in Cyber Negotiate Salary?

Women in cybersecurity careers are less likely to negotiate their salaries than men

The percentage of women among cybersecurity careers in these regions is still approximately 25%. Considering the cybersecurity industry still needs 2.72 million more professionals urgently so that organizations can fill up crucial vacancies, the lack of women in the industry is contributing to the burgeoning cybersecurity gap that organizations aren’t able to address at the scale required. (ISC) said that even though 700,000 professionals entered the workforce in the past year, the workforce gap reduced by just 400,000, indicating that the global demand continues to outpace supply.

Another factor that remains to be addressed is the percentage of women in leadership roles in the cybersecurity industry. In 2021, women made up just 17% of Fortune 500 CISO positions and there is only one female CISO in the top ten U.S. companies. However, it cannot be said that the participation of women isn’t improving quickly. The percentage of women in Fortune 500 CISO positions was a paltry 14% last year.

However, negotiating salary is one of the most rewarding conversations, especially among women in cybersecurity careers. Naturally, women have systematically lower expectations which unfortunately means systematically lower outcomes because expectations drive behavior. When it comes to negotiating or even discussing the majority of people are not comfortable discussing what they have earned or what they are looking for in fear of losing an offer.

Women have the skills and the desire: 

It’s up to organizations to support them and the cybersecurity industry is now aware that women are ready and want to join leadership roles. They want to showcase their talent. However, it is not only about women being suitable for leadership roles, but also about companies, as in how open they are to admit women into such roles.

 It is not enough for a company to appoint women in executive roles just to tick gender diversity boxes. The organizations should look at leveraging women’s specific skill sets and talents to transform, and not just hire them as a window-dressing exercise. If they were to choose between a qualified man and a woman who does not possess similar skills or expertise, they would choose the man.

However, use your network to get insights. Pair your factors with research on the market for the role in cybersecurity careers and industry this will make your argument more compelling. You will need to have a number in mind, be willing to be flexible on that and also take into consideration the very least you are willing to accept. There are so many salary tools and surveys online to compare.

Attracting women to cybersecurity:

Attracting more women to cybersecurity careers requires governments, non-profit organizations, professional and trade associations, and the private sector to work together. Public-private partnership projects could help solve the problem in the long run.

Attracting more women to the cybersecurity field requires a range of efforts. Cybersecurity job ads should be written so that female professionals feel welcome to apply. Recruitment efforts should focus on academic institutions with high female enrolment. Corporations should ensure that female employees see cybersecurity as a good option for internal career changes. And governments should work with the private sector and academic institutions to get young girls interested in cybersecurity careers.

Good security and good business:

Boosting women’s involvement in information security makes both security and business sense. Female leaders in this area tend to prioritize important areas that males often overlook. This is partly due to their backgrounds. Forty-four percent of women in information security fields have degrees in business and social sciences, compared to 30% of men.

Female internet security professionals put a higher priority on internal training and education in security and risk management. Women are also stronger advocates for online training, which is a flexible, low-cost way of increasing employees’ awareness of security issues.

Female internet security professionals are also adept at selecting partner organizations to develop secure software. Women tend to pay more attention to partner organizations’ qualifications and personnel, and they assess partners’ ability to meet contractual obligations. They also prefer partners that are willing to perform independent security tests.

Be open and honest if this is a role with a company you want to work for ask if there is room for flexibility. You have to remember the person at the end of the line is going to bat for you. If they manage to get what you have asked for and you do not take an offer you are burning a bridge somewhere.

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