While the cybersecurity field has attempted to make strides in diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives (DEI) in recent years, 82% of cybersecurity executives leading the industry today are white men. A recent study of global security executives found that 18% of C-level leaders surveyed identified as diverse candidates, which the survey defined as people of color and/or women.
The 2022 Global Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) Survey from Heidrick & Struggles surveyed 327 cybersecurity executives including chief information security officers (CISOs) and chief security officers (CSOs) around the globe to determine compensation trends, top security priorities and the state of diversity in the cyber workforce.
In the United States cybersecurity workforce, the percentage of diverse executives decreased slightly compared to the global rate, with 14% of U.S. cyber leaders surveyed identifying as women and/or people of color. The global gender breakdown between male and female leaders was 87% men and 10% women, according to the study. The survey did not report an option for other gender minorities, and three percent of respondents preferred not to respond to the question categorizing their gender.
These demographics in the C-suite reflect less gender diversity in high-level cybersecurity leadership roles than in the industry as a whole. Women make up 24% of the cybersecurity field, according to an (ISC)2 workforce study.
Increasing gender and racial diversity in the industry has been a focus for many organizations, with recommendations for diversifying the cyber workforce highlighting the need to develop equitable hiring practices and training, as well as the need to measure the state of diversity progress in the cybersecurity industry.