While women in the information security industry struggle to be seen, promoted and compensated in ways equal to men, the two genders have reached a certain parity in the privacy arena, with the field evenly split between the two, according to a survey from the International Association of Privacy Professionals (IAPP).
What's more, the 2015 Privacy Professional Salary Survey, which queried 1,253 privacy pros worldwide, found that women in privacy and data governance follow similar career trajectories as men, with professional certification being the most predictive indicator for salary. Men brought in a median annual salary in the U.S. of $130,000 while women pulled down $125,000. Even that small gap narrowed with professional certification where men made a median salary of $135,000 and women earned $132,500.
In Europe, women edged out men, with median annuals salaries of $100,100 and $92,000 respectively.
Privacy's trend toward gender equality comes as no surprise to IAPP President and CEO J. Trevor Hughes who told SCMagazine.com that because the privacy profession emerged in 2000, in the modern era, "it didn't have any of the legacy" regarding gender that information security had. "There was no entrenched gender bias," he said, explaining that success in privacy is based on merit.
When women do break into the ranks in cybersecurity, they often sit well outside the C-suite, whose seats are typically reserved mostly for men. Not so in privacy. The survey found women to be 33 percent more likely to occupy a C-suite office than men. And women and men were very nearly on equal footing at the vice president, legal counsel and director-level positions
The only spot that held a clear salary advantage for men was for the 15 percent of survey respondents who had more than 15 years of experience, the IAPP said, with men making an average of $181,000 annually compared to an annual salary of $156,300 for women.
The IAPP released the survey in its entirety Tuesday at an event at the Decatur House in Washington D.C., cohosted by the Center for Democracy and Technology (CDT). A panel of women privacy professionals, led by CDT President and CEO Nuala O'Connor, discussed the results as well as the rise of women in the privacy industry.