The finding from the (ISC)2 Cybersecurity Workforce Study comes despite almost a third (30%) of cyber security professionals worldwide being women, up from around a quarter last year.
The average salary for female employees in North America working in cyber security is under $80,000, compared to an average of around $96,500 for their male counterparts.
In Europe, meanwhile, female cyber security professionals earn an average of approximately $40,500, versus $67,000 for men.
In addition, over a fifth (22%) of female cyber security professionals said that they had experienced discrimination in their careers, compared to 13% of men.
Why is it important to build increasingly diverse security teams?
“Women in the field face more discrimination and receive lower compensation than men,” said Andrea Moore, community manager at (ISC)2. “If these inequities are corrected, the cyber security profession may attract more women.
“This would benefit business, by boosting diversity and attracting different points of view, and for the industry, by helping to close the workforce gap of four million workers.”
The study also found that 63% of female cyber security staff planned on going into the field as far back as university, versus 54% of men.
A larger proportion of women compared to men also started their careers in cyber security (53% vs 38%).
Over two thirds of women in cyber security (68%) expressed plans to remain working in this particular field for the remainder of their working lives, while 69% said that they were either very or somewhat satisfied with their jobs, versus 66% of men.
Agata Nowakowska, area vice-president EMEA at Skillsoft, commented: “Whilst progress is under way for pay equality for women, it’s by no way complete. The scrutiny faced by organisations such as the BBC for having such a huge discrepancy in gender and BAME pay scales, has brought a welcome light to this issue.
“In fact, 2020 has already seen headlines on how the BBC presenter Samira Ahmed successfully won a case against the BBC over unequal pay. We need to see more of this.
“Organisations need to stand up and address this issue head on. Women should not have to question if they are being paid the same amount as a male colleague with the same role and responsibilities. If companies really care about equal pay – they should know that offering equal pay is a benefit to everyone.
“We also need to teach about gender equality within schools. Both boys and girls need to learn to regard themselves as equal and they are both capable of taking up any role, whether that’s in STEM or leadership. Educating children at a young age is the only way to remove unconscious bias that affects us later on in our professional working life.”