New Study Highlights Change in Hiring Trends and Skills for Security Leaders

March 28, 2007, Framingham, MA—The Security Executive Council (founded by CSO magazine), an international professional membership organization for leading senior security executives, has announced the results of a new leadership hiring trends study. “Security Leadership Background Trends” sheds light on the type of background and knowledge many organizations now want to see in their current and prospective senior security managers. The report is available for free download from the council’s Web site.

Organizations have historically chosen security leaders who have specific experience dealing with the security issues the organizations are addressing at that time. This has resulted in a selection process based on backgrounds instead of an overall knowledge base. In the past, the three most prevalent backgrounds were military (for physical security and intelligence experience), law enforcement (for investigative and criminal justice experience) and backgrounds in other positions within the existing corporate security department (for security and corporate culture knowledge). “Security Leadership Background Trends,” based on the results of a survey conducted in November and December 2006, highlights the backgrounds that are in demand today.

Some key findings of the report:

  • A majority of respondents had international experience (60%)
  • Thirty-seven percent had master’s degrees (37%)
  • Many respondents came to their current security position with previous experience from the business function (53%)
  • Criminal Justice and Business were the two most-cited degree specializations (22% and 18% respectively) apart from “Other”
  • Local Law Enforcement and Business IT were the two most-cited backgrounds of respondents with overall security responsibility for the organization (21% each) apart from “Other.” They replace Military and Internal Security, the backgrounds of choice a few years ago.

One of the report’s most interesting findings is organizations’ strong interest in leaders with business and IT business backgrounds. “Our observation has been that people are now sometimes being put in security leadership positions with no security, investigation, or security systems background, but a business background,” said Bob Hayes, managing director of the Security Executive Council. “Some security personnel are being pushed out in favor of others with business risk and program knowledge. I think this should serve as a wake-up call for security practitioners who are not adept at demonstrating and communicating the value security can add to the business and reducing business risk. You have to think in terms of security adding value to business to survive today.”

For more information or to download the free report, visit

The Security Executive Council has recently completed another research project that identifies six Knowledge Streams and 70 Knowledge Elements that current and next-generation security leaders should have. This report will be released in April.

About the CSO Executive Council
The CSO Executive Council is an international professional membership organization for leading senior security executives spanning all industries, both the public and private sectors, and the globe. Its members seek innovative issue solutions and documentation of model core security programs. The council uses professional staff and a distinguished faculty of former CSOs and content experts to develop strategic services and products for the entire membership. Its vision is to deliver cost-effective solutions that are unavailable from any other source.

Bob Hayes
Managing Director

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