CXO

Minority cybersecurity pros earn $7K less than average, even with more education

Some 32% of cybersecurity professionals of color have experienced workplace discrimination, according to a new report from (ISC)².

Building a slide deck, pitch, or presentation? Here are the big takeaways:
  • 32% of minority cybersecurity professionals said they have experienced some form of discrimination in the workplace. — (ISC)², 2018
  • On average, a cybersecurity professional of color earns $115,000, while the overall US cybersecurity workforce average is $122,000. — (ISC)², 2018

Despite earning more degrees, minority cybersecurity workers are less likely to hold leadership roles or make the same salary as their Caucasian peers in the field, according to a new report from (ISC)² and the International Consortium of Minority Cybersecurity Professionals (ICMCP).

While minority representation in the cybersecurity field (26%) is slightly higher than the overall US minority workforce (21%), employment among cybersecurity professionals who identify as a racial or ethnic minority tends to be concentrated in non-management positions, the report found. Some 23% of minority cybersecurity professionals hold a role of director or above, compared to 30% of their Caucasian peers.

Meanwhile, 62% of minorities in the field have obtained a master's degree or higher, compared to 50% of professionals who identified as White or Caucasian.

SEE: Cybersecurity spotlight: The critical labor shortage (Tech Pro Research)

Pay discrepancies also exist in the cyber field, based on race and gender: On average, a cybersecurity professional of color earns $115,000, while the overall US cybersecurity workforce average is $122,000, the report found. Breaking that number down further, men of color earn an average of $3,000 less than their Caucasian male peers.

The outlook is far worse for women: Women of color earn an average of $10,000 less than Caucasian males, and $6,000 less than Caucasian females, the report found.

In addition to a higher average salary, Caucasian workers were more likely to have received a salary increase within the past year, compared to their peers of other races and ethnicities, according to the report.

"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," (ISC)² CEO David Shearer said in a press release. "In order 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."

Discrimination in the workplace is also an issue, as 32% of minority cybersecurity professionals said they have experienced some form of discrimination in the workplace.

Studies show that organizations with racially and ethnically diverse leadership teams benefit both company culture and bottom line revenues, while also adding to the overall confidence of an organization's security posture, the report stated.

To improve workplace diversity and equity, employers can implement mentorship and training programs, as well as executive leadership programs to promote the advancement of the multicultural workforce, the report recommended.

"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," ICMCP president Aric K. Perminter said in the release. "Not only is it a basic equity issue, but it threatens our global economic viability as a nation."

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Image: iStockphoto/gorodenkoff

About Alison DeNisco Rayome

Alison DeNisco Rayome is a Staff Writer for TechRepublic. She covers CXO, cybersecurity, and the convergence of tech and the workplace.

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