This publication and the Introduction below were published by (ISC)2 in March 2018. ICIT strongly encourages you to visit the (ISC)2 site for additional educational and certification materials.
For the first time, the (ISC)² Global Information Security Workforce Study features a deeper dive into the diverse composition of the U.S. cybersecurity workforce to encompass not only gender, age and tenure, but ethnicity and race as well. This is the 8th edition of the Study, which was developed by (ISC)² and The Center for Cyber Safety and Education in partnership with Frost & Sullivan. Although the study is global in its scope, questions of race and ethnicity were asked only to respondents in the U.S. This report was developed by (ISC)² in partnership with the International Consortium of Minority Cybersecurity Professionals (ICMCP).
Key findings from the report indicate that minority representation within the cybersecurity profession (26%) is slightly higher than the overall U.S. minority workforce (21%). Employment among cybersecurity professionals who identify as a racial or ethnic minority tends to be concentrated in non-management positions, with fewer occupying leadership roles, despite being highly educated.
Among minority cybersecurity professionals, 23% hold a role of director or above, 7% below the U.S. average. Interestingly, minorities who have advanced into leadership roles often hold higher degrees of academic education than their Caucasian peers who occupy similar positions; of minorities in cybersecurity, 62% have obtained a master’s degree or higher, compared to 50% of professionals who identified as White or Caucasian. While it’s been noted that academic degrees do not necessarily imply a more advanced level of skill, it has typically been considered a hiring prerequisite for most employers. Additional research has revealed that higher levels of education among leaders can contribute to the greater overall success of an organization.
Multiple studies have pointed out that diversity in leadership has a positive impact on an organization’s overall profitability. In a comprehensive review of 180 publicly traded companies, McKinsey & Company noted:
“The findings were startlingly consistent: for companies ranking in the top quartile of executive-board diversity, Returns on Equity were 53 percent higher, on average, than they were for those in the bottom quartile. At the same time, Earnings Before Tax and Interest margins at the most diverse companies were 14 percent higher, on average, than those of the least diverse companies.”
McKinsey & Company’s study shows that the benefits of a diverse leadership team are multifaceted; thus creating a culture that inspires workers to approach problems and challenges from different perspectives that ultimately help an organization excel. Diversity is not only important for driving company growth and profit, it is vital in the cybersecurity profession that depends on unique approaches to problems and challenges to protect an organization. Moreover, hiring a more diverse workforce is essential to addressing the ever-widening projected workforce gap.