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  Study: U.S. Minority Cybersecurity Pros Underrepresented in Senior Roles

A new study released earlier this year finds that U.S. minority cybersecurity professionals are underrepresented in senior roles. It also finds that 32% of cybersecurity professionals of color have experienced discrimination.
The report, Innovation Through Inclusion: The Multicultural Cybersecurity Workforce, was published by (ISC)², the world’s largest non-profit association of certified cybersecurity professionals headquartered in Clearwater, FL.
(ISC)², the International Consortium of Minority Cybersecurity Professionals (ICMCP) and the (ISC)² Center for Cyber Safety and Education commissioned the study to measure minority representation in the U.S. cybersecurity profession and to better understand the challenges these highly skilled individuals experience.
“While minority representation within the cybersecurity field (26%) is slightly higher than the overall U.S. minority workforce (21%), our study did reveal that racial and ethnic minorities tend to hold non-managerial positions, and pay discrepancies, especially for minority women, is a challenge,” says (ISC)² CEO David Shearer, CISSP.
“To build strong, adequately staffed cybersecurity teams, employers - and the cybersecurity profession as a whole - must make cybersecurity a rewarding and welcoming career for everyone. Understanding the challenges our profession faces related to diversity is a critical first step to accomplishing that goal and ultimately addressing the widening cybersecurity workforce gap.”
“The under-participation by large segments of our society represents a loss of opportunity for individuals, a loss of talent in the workforce, and a loss of creativity in shaping the future of cybersecurity,” says ICMCP President Aric K. Perminter.
“Not only is it a basic equity issue, but it also threatens our global economic viability as a nation. This research underscores the importance of our mission. The ICMCP Educational Security Operations Centers (ESOCs) provide innovative, effective and timely solutions to the cybersecurity demands of employers - from cyber ranges and certification training to National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education (NICE) curriculum and job placement.”
For more insights from the study, visit , isc2.org/research. Also see the accompanying sidebar.
Sources: (ISC)², International Consortium of Minority Cybersecurity Professionals (ICMCP) and (ISC)² Center for Cyber Safety and Education
Key Findings from (ISC)² & ICMCP Report
Findings are based on survey responses from 9,500 U.S. cybersecurity professionals. Key insights from the study include:
23% of minority cybersecurity professionals hold a role of director or above compared to 30% of their Caucasian peers.
62% of minorities in cybersecurity have obtained a master’s degree or higher, compared to 50% of professionals who identified as white or Caucasian.
$115,000 is how much on average a cybersecurity professional of color earns. $122,000 is the overall U.S. cybersecurity workforce average.
Men of color are slightly behind their Caucasian male peers by $3,000 USD, while women of color make an average of $10,000 less than Caucasian males and $6,000 less than Caucasian females.
In addition to a higher average salary, Caucasian workers were more likely to have received a salary increase within the past year, as compared to other races and ethnicities.
32% of cybersecurity professionals of color report they’ve experienced some form of discrimination in the workplace.
17% of the cybersecurity workforce who identify as a minority in the U.S. are female, proportionally exceeding overall female representation (14%) by a margin of 3%.
49% of minority cybersecurity professionals say mentorship programs are very important to foster diversity in the workplace.
Sources: (ISC)², International Consortium of Minority Cybersecurity Professionals (ICMCP) and (ISC)² Center for Cyber Safety and Education
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