Women In Cyber. PHOTO: Cybercrime Magazine.

Cybersecurity Talent Gap Creates Opportunity For Women

An unconventional mindset needs to become the norm

Amanda Glassner

Northport, N.Y. – Mar. 24, 2021

Beth Dewitt knows social anthropology… and cybersecurity.

Deloitte Canada’s board director for Canada and Chile earned an MA in the comparative study of the ways in which people live in different social and cultural settings across the globe before launching into a career in privacy and risk.

Dewitt beat the odds in an industry where just 10 percent of the jobs were held by women when she started out — a figure that slowly grew to 20 percent by 2019.

To close the talent gap, we’ll need to move the needle to 50 percent of women in cybersecurity. Dewitt helped herself, and she’s on a mission to help others.

In the last eight years, unfilled cybersecurity jobs increased by 350 percent globally, up from one million in 2013 to 3.5 million in 2021. Recruiting and retaining staff is a priority for businesses of all sizes and types.

“The talent gap provides concern,” Dewitt told us. “But it also creates a huge opportunity.”

Cybercrime Radio: Talent Crunch and Career Opportunities

Beth Dewitt, Partner & Board Director, Deloitte Canada & Chile

Cybercrime Radio

“The possibilities are endless in terms of the different people who can come into these roles, the different ways in which they think, and the skills they bring,” she continued. “We can now position cybersecurity as a career of choice for all sorts of people.”

Dewitt is a perfect example. She was able to leverage her education in human behavior and apply that to a relevant field.

Diversity is also a critical element in securing the world’s information systems.

“There are some older perceptions out there about who the right type of cybersecurity practitioner is,” explained Dewitt. “But to fix the lens of diversity, inclusion, equity, and addressing unconscious biases, we need to expand the aperture out.”

Despite recent initiatives to hire more women, minorities, and even neurodiverse individuals, these groups remain dangerously underrepresented in cybersecurity.

“It takes all types of individuals to tackle the problems of cyber risk,” said Dewitt. “The more people around the table, the more we’re able to think through the art of the possible and break down our conventional mindset.”

“Every gap where a process moves from one team to another, every assumption that developers and defenders make about how a system is designed or what users will try to do with it, those are the cracks where attackers can try to break in,” said Ann Johnson, corporate vice president at Microsoft, in a popular article she wrote in Cybercrime Magazine.

“If everyone in the security team thinks the same and follows the same way of working, you’re going to carry on missing those attack surfaces,” added Johnson. “Getting a wider range of people into security isn’t just equitable; diversity is the best chance we have to make a real difference with security.”

Work in Cyber 

If you want to invest in your future, look no further than cybersecurity. Despite 10.1 million Americans left without work in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, this lucrative industry remains stable with a near zero percent unemployment rate.

LinkedIn lists more than 60,000 cybersecurity jobs in the U.S. alone. With many roles going remote, you don’t have to commute.

There are more than 50 cybersecurity titles that every job seeker should know about.

The average entry-level cybersecurity analyst salary in the U.S. is more than $85,000, although there are more junior roles that pay anywhere from $50,000 to $75,000 depending on the company, geography, and other factors. There is a starting point for everyone.

Chief information security officers (CISOs) at large companies earn anywhere from $250,000 to $400,000 annually, with a growing number of positions paying more than $1 million.

Why apply? Job security, room for growth, competitive salary, exciting opportunities, and more await you in cyberspace.

Women In Cybersecurity (WiCyS) and The International Consortium of Minority Cyber Professionals (ICMCP) are two excellent resources for diversifying cybersecurity.

To hear more about Dewitt and her career with Deloitte, the world’s largest cybersecurity consulting firm, listen to the full podcast episode here.

Amanda Glassner is a staff writer and reporter at Cybercrime Magazine.

Go here to read all of my blogs and articles covering cybersecurity. Go here to send me story tips, feedback and suggestions.