Only six per cent of those training for a career in cyber security are female, according to figures published by QA, the UK's largest IT training company.
The proportion of women working in Britain's IT and telecommunications industry stands at 18 per cent, with women representing under one in five of the sector's workforce, but among those seeking a cyber security role this ratio drops even lower, with just one in every 20 trainees being female.
The QA figures are based on those enrolling on the company’s courses and is also 20 per cent fall on the number of women studying cyber security during the previous year. In same period, the number of men training in the field, doubled.
This under represenation in an important and fast growing field is one of the reasons for the establishment of the the Women’s Security Society (WSS), which, at the end of last month, held its inaugural members conference.
The WSS aims to encourage the advancement of women across all security platforms and is hosting a number of events throughout the year from sector specific-round table discussions to large conference-style forums, as well as themed events.
Earlier this year, the National Audit Office (NAO) warned that the UK is desperately short of the skills required to protect against cyber threats and called for more cyber security experts need to be trained.
"Despite the huge rise in men taking cyber security training over the past year, Britain is still falling short of the number of people needed to plug the skills gap identified by the NAO," said Bill Walker, technical director for QA. He added: "It needs to be easier, more affordable and more appealing to women, in order for them to enter this vital segment of the IT economy."
WSS Membership and attendance at events is free and open to both men and women. To register and find out more, visit www.womenssecuritysociety.co.uk.