Which Educational Background Does Your Management Value More?

Return to Corporate Security Career
Created by the Security Executive Council

In this Security Barometer online quick poll, conducted in 2014, we wanted to investigate what our community felt their management was looking for in educational background for security and risk mitigation employees.

The SEC heavily promotes the need for a strong understanding of business concepts that intertwine with security best practices, so it may not be a surprise that most respondents to the survey felt their management valued a business degree more than other educational backgrounds.

chart showing educational background management values most

However when we looked deeper into the results we found that the educational background management was looking for depended on the level of the respondent. Respondents that classified themselves as staff through mid-level management were evenly split on what education management valued between industry certifications, military or law enforcement experience, security/criminal justice degrees, and business degrees. While respondents that classified themselves as senior or executive management clearly felt their management favored business degrees.

chart showing educational background management values most from sr mgmt perspective

Another interesting finding was that the area of security (IT security versus physical security) played a role in the responses. If the respondent had some responsibility for information security, their management was more likely to prefer military/law enforcement experience and industry certifications. Contrast this result with the group of respondents who had responsibility only for physical security - a group whose management clearly preferred a business degree. (Both categories of respondents, those that had some responsibility for IT security and those that had no responsibility for IT security, consisted of roughly the same percentage of senior/executive management respondents as to lower levels.)

chart showing educational background management values most from IT security perspective
(The "other" responses mostly represented educational degrees outside of business, such as engineering and law.)

chart showing educational background management values most from physical security perspective

What You Can Take Away From This
Although the Security Barometer is just a quick poll, it does tend to pick up on trends in the industry. At early stages in your career, a number of different sources of education can be valuable, as your management is likely to be looking for specific point skills - skills where industry certifications can play a role in reinforcing your resume. However, if you intend to advance into upper management, it’s essential that you have an in-depth understanding of business and how security ties into and supports the organization.

The SEC excels at making the connection between the protection of the people and assets of an organization and enhancing the organization’s performance. Contact us to learn more about how we can help advance your career by identifying these types of opportunities within your organization.

Return to Corporate Security Career