#infosec | Lack of Diversity Persists in Cybersecurity


An annual international survey has found the cybersecurity industry to be dominated by Caucasian men for the second year running.

The Exabeam Cybersecurity Professionals Salary, Skills and Stress Survey asks security professionals around the world about their job satisfaction, education level, and attitude toward innovative and emerging technologies. 

This year’s survey was completed in September by 479 security professionals working in the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, India, Australia, and the Netherlands. 

Last year, only 10% of survey respondents were female. This year, that percentage dropped to a measly 9%, indicating, at best, little change in the cybersecurity industry’s gender imbalance. 

A further finding of the survey was that the majority of respondents—65%—identified as Caucasian. Asian professionals and Latino or Hispanic employees made up just 13% and 9% of respondents, respectively. 

Two of the most under-represented groups in the survey were people from the Middle East and African Americans, who made up just 4% and 3% of respondents, respectively.

While the cybersecurity industry may be lagging behind in diversity, at least it’s got a balanced approach to pay. 

Exabeam researchers wrote: “Men and women reported similar wages, and minorities made some of the highest salaries. African-Americans reported the highest median salary.”

Job satisfaction was found to have decreased, with 71% of respondents very satisfied at work compared with 83% last year. Despite a fizzling out of workplace joie de vivre, 78% of respondents said that they would recommend cybersecurity as a career for new professionals and graduates. 

One reason behind this readiness to encourage others to embark on cybersecurity careers may be respondents’ perception of job security, as 76% reported that they felt secure in their positions.

Unchanged from 2018 were median salaries, which averaged between $75,000 and $100,000.

“The lack of diversity in this survey is a microcosm of the wider problem plaguing the cybersecurity industry,” said Trevor Daughney, VP of product marketing at Exabeam. 

“When we consider the continuous threats and external adversaries that cyber professionals face, we understand that fighting them often requires a multidisciplinary approach. Building a diverse team of people creates a more holistic view of the problem and delivers a range of valuable problem-solving skills. In that way, diversity truly improves the overall outcomes of the team.”

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