Wednesday 15th February 2023

BLOG: Advancing Diversity and Inclusion in Cyber Security Through Black History Month

February is Black History Month in the US, a time to celebrate the contributions of Black Americans and to raise awareness about the ongoing fight for racial justice. The cybersecurity industry is not immune to the broader societal issues of diversity and inclusion, and this month provides an opportunity to reflect on what can be done to promote a more diverse and inclusive cybersecurity workforce.

Last year, Zippia estimated the demographics and statistics for cyber security engineers in the United States and their estimates were verified against BLS, Census, and current job openings data for accuracy. After extensive research and analysis, Zippia’s data science team found that:

There are over 12,028 cyber security engineers currently employed in the United States and the most common ethnicity of cyber security engineers is White (72.6%), followed by Hispanic or Latino (9.1%), Black or African American (8.0%) and Asian (7.3%). Despite the percentage being quite low, there has still been a slight increase, in 2021 AICI group published an article explaining how underrepresented Black/African Americans were in the cybersecurity field and only made up 3%

Racial inclusivity in the cybersecurity industry is extremely important. A diverse workforce brings a range of perspectives, experiences, and backgrounds that can lead to more innovative and effective solutions. Representation of underrepresented groups, including Black and African American individuals, can help to address the lack of diversity in the industry and create a more inclusive culture.

Cybersecurity technology can reflect the biases of its creators, leading to negative impacts on certain groups, particularly those from marginalized communities. A diverse and inclusive workforce can help to address these biases and ensure that technology is developed with inclusivity in mind.

Cybersecurity threats can come from a wide range of sources, and a diverse workforce can help to ensure that the industry is better equipped to identify and respond to these threats. Diverse perspectives can lead to a more comprehensive understanding of cybersecurity risks and enhance overall resilience.

A workplace that values diversity and promotes inclusivity can be more attractive to a wider range of talent, including underrepresented groups. This can help organizations attract and retain the best and brightest talent in the industry. A diverse and inclusive workplace can foster ethical and responsible practices, as employees are more likely to consider the impact of their work on a wider range of communities.

How We Can Advance Diversity & Inclusion

Here are a few ways that the cybersecurity community can advance diversity and inclusion during Black History Month and beyond:

  • Celebrate and Amplify Black Voices: During Black History Month, it is important to celebrate the contributions of Black individuals and organizations in the cybersecurity industry. This can include highlighting their accomplishments and sharing their perspectives through events, webinars, and social media.
  • Invest in Diverse Talent: The cybersecurity industry must make a concerted effort to attract, retain, and promote diverse talent. This includes investing in initiatives that support underrepresented groups and promoting diversity and inclusion in hiring practices, mentorship programs, and career development opportunities.
  • Promote Inclusivity in the Workplace: Inclusivity in the workplace is critical to creating a welcoming and supportive environment for all employees. Organizations should work to create a culture that values diversity and encourages open and respectful communication.
  • Address Bias in Cybersecurity Technology: Cybersecurity technology has been shown to have biases that can negatively impact certain groups, particularly those from marginalized communities. It is important for organizations to actively address these biases and ensure that cybersecurity technology is inclusive and equitable for all.
  • Support Black-Led Cybersecurity Initiatives: Black-led cybersecurity initiatives, such as the National Black Cybersecurity Association, play a crucial role in promoting diversity and inclusion in the industry. Organizations can support these initiatives by providing resources, funding, and collaboration opportunities.

In conclusion, Black History Month provides an opportunity for the cybersecurity community to reflect on the importance of diversity and inclusion and to take action to promote a more diverse and inclusive industry. By celebrating and amplifying Black voices, investing in diverse talent, promoting inclusivity in the workplace, addressing bias in technology, and supporting Black-led initiatives can create a more inclusive and equitable future for all.

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