Working at CIA

Diversity and Inclusion

Our Mission Depends on It

At the CIA, we are striving to build a workforce that reflects the world in which we live and a workplace where all voices are heard, respected, and valued. Our national security mission demands a broad range of perspectives, ethnicities, backgrounds, and experiences. We’ve seen how an inclusive culture fosters new ideas, inspires innovation, and leads to success. At CIA, we don’t just leverage diversity, equity, and inclusion; we embrace and celebrate it.

CIA must attract, develop, and retain a diverse workforce to ensure success in an increasingly complex global environment. By ensuring that every CIA officer is able to bring a full range of perspectives, experiences, and talents to our mission, the Agency will be better prepared to address intelligence challenges and support its customers.

Sonya Holt

Deputy Associate Director of CIA for Talent for Diversity and Inclusion

Our Commitment to Change

Our Agency’s diversity initiatives help us better understand where we are and where we want to go. Efforts like the  Diversity in Leadership Study and the Director’s Advisory Group on Women in Leadership help us recognize gaps and opportunities for improvement. To address these, our Diversity and Inclusion Strategy outlines goals, actions, and accountability measures for coming years.

Goal: Promote Transparency and Build Trust

Accomplishment: Launched a review of open job positions to increase consistency, transparency, and equality in the hiring process.

Goal: Foster an Inclusive Culture

Accomplishment: Created new workshops and courses directed at educating CIA professionals about diversity. New officers learned how diversity, equity, and inclusion are essential to mission success, and many officers signed up as advocates of diversity initiatives.

Goal: Increase Diversity in Hiring

Accomplishment: Developed comprehensive recruitment outreach strategies to attract a diverse pool of applicants. We strengthened relationships with colleges and universities, diverse professional organizations, heritage-based groups, and minority-serving institutions across the country. Engaging with these groups raises awareness about our work and helps us fill our workforce with people from all backgrounds. We’ve also developed inclusive questions for recruiters to use during discussions with prospective employees.

Agency Resource Groups

We have a variety of Agency Resource Groups (ARGs) made up of employees who share a common affinity and their allies. ARGs make our organization stronger by increasing cultural awareness, sharing insights, and promoting collaboration.

Stories of Diversity

Michael: Serving with Pride

Michael joined CIA after finishing his bachelor’s degree in international relations and economics. His passion for foreign affairs and national security attracted him to the Agency, even though he was unsure if being openly gay would limit his progression. “My experience has actually been quite the opposite,” Michael said. “I’ve had nothing but a positive and welcoming job experience—even direct vocal support from management—which allows me to focus solely on my job.”

Michael is an active member of ANGLE, our ARG for LGBTQ officers. He also takes part in LGBTQ outreach with our recruiters.

I want other members of the LGBTQ community to know that the Agency offers a supportive environment for them to really make a difference in the world. Being able to serve openly has been rewarding on so many levels: the most significant being the knowledge that I work in an inclusive environment that welcomes my unique perspective. Everyone deserves that peace of mind, and I am happy to have found it here at CIA.

Open Source Collection Specialist

James: Breaking Barriers

In 2006, James was critically wounded while serving as a Marine in Operation Iraqi Freedom. Despite losing both legs, James saw his injury as a bump in the road that would not knock him out of the fight. “Giving up would have given the terrorists the satisfaction of having put down one more American,” James said.

Through our partnership with Operation Warfighter, a federal program for recovering service members, we extended James an offer of employment. Now, he continues to serve his country every day by working at CIA.

Giving up was never an option for me. I never thought I would be a CIA officer, and I’m very grateful to the Agency for the opportunities I’ve been afforded. There’s definitely a lot of fight in me, and I’ll continue to do it until I can’t anymore.

Cyber Operations Officer

Fatima: Courage to Serve

For Fatima, a first-generation U.S. citizen, the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001 changed the trajectory of her life.  “After the attacks, I realized how little I really understood about my culture,” Fatima said. “I wanted to be able to answer the questions I was often asked and help negate some of the assumptions people make about the Muslim faith.”

The attacks inspired bold action that set Fatima’s path to CIA in motion. After completing her graduate degree in international affairs, Fatima served in local and federal law enforcement. Eventually, her desire to have a more direct role in U.S. counterterrorism efforts led her to the next stage in her career at CIA.

I wanted to be at the forefront of the counterterrorism mission to help preempt an attack against the United States. As a first-generation American proficient in foreign languages, I am able to add cultural, linguistic, and historical context when things are ambiguous, which really enables me and my colleagues to make a greater impact on the mission.

Operations Officer

Awards and Recognition

  • 2019 Reader’s Choice Top 20 Government Employers in STEM Workforce Diversity Magazine
  • One of Top 50 Workplaces for Indigenous STEM Professionals (for the fifth year)
  • Corporate Partner of the Year and President’s Award
  • Recognized by Glassdoor as Top Company that Champions LGBTQ Equality

Diversity at CIA