Diversity in Cybersecurity: Unmasking the Talent Gap

Explore the importance of diversity in the cybersecurity industry, the challenges it faces, and the steps organizations can take to overcome these hurdles. Join the discussion to help drive change and create a more inclusive future for cybersecurity.


Michael Queralt

7/1/20232 min read

person using laptop computers
person using laptop computers

The cybersecurity industry is facing a major challenge: a lack of diversity. Despite the fact that the global workforce is becoming increasingly diverse, the cybersecurity workforce is not keeping pace. In fact, only 26% of cybersecurity professionals come from diverse backgrounds, despite constituting 41% of the overall workforce.

This lack of diversity is more than just a statistical anomaly—it presents tangible challenges to the field. First, it restricts the available talent pool when only a limited demographic segment is represented. This constriction not only limits the range of skills but also limits the diversity of thought crucial in battling the equally diverse cyber threats.

In our analysis of over 100 open "entry level" cybersecurity positions, we found that:

  • 84% require a Bachelor's Degree

  • 98% require between 1-5 years of experience

  • 96% require a major certification

  • 38% require passing a background check or holding a security clearance

These stringent requirements often put candidates from diverse backgrounds in unattainable positions, ultimately limiting the potential talent pool.

Furthermore, a lack of diversity can stymie the identification and response to sophisticated, targeted cyber threats. A diverse workforce, enriched with a wide array of experiences and perspectives, is better equipped to identify, understand, and respond to these threats.

So, what can organizations do to enhance diversity in their cybersecurity workforce?

1. Redefine the skill requirements: Many cybersecurity jobs require a bachelor's degree and several years of experience. However, these requirements can exclude qualified candidates from diverse backgrounds. Focusing on skills and aptitude for the job, regardless of their educational background or experience, could make these roles more accessible.

2. Offer training and development programs: Numerous individuals from diverse backgrounds may lack the formal training required for cybersecurity jobs. However, they may possess the necessary aptitude. Implementing training and development programs could help these candidates hone their skills and succeed in their cybersecurity careers.

3. Foster inclusive workplace cultures: Creating an inclusive workplace culture that welcomes and values people from all backgrounds is essential. This can be achieved by providing opportunities for mentorship, networking, and ensuring that all employees feel valued and respected.

In conclusion, while the cybersecurity industry is facing a substantial challenge, it can be overcome. By taking deliberate steps to increase diversity in their workforce, organizations can improve their security posture and create a more inclusive workplace culture.

So, let's turn this discussion into action:

What can you do to help increase diversity in the cybersecurity workforce? How can organizations make their hiring practices more inclusive? Share your thoughts, experiences, and suggestions, and let's collectively drive the change we wish to see in the industry.