We asked Amanda McCloskey, Marketing Director, CIS Security: How can developments be made with regard to diversity and inclusion in the security sector?
A changing sector
The private security industry is a vigorous and rapidly expanding sector of the British economy. Last year alone, it grew by 17% and in the last five years, its turnover has doubled to £12.2bn. With hundreds of thousands of employees, this business is constantly progressing and growing.
This exponential growth brings new challenges, the most central being the industry’s future leaders. In the wake of new threats, building a robust security capacity and resilience is more and more essential and, to do so, this sector needs to step outside its “comfort zone” and think long-term.
Something is changing
Diversity and inclusion are instrumental for any industry, but even more so in the realm of public safety, security and risk management.
Traditionally, manned services have been a male-dominated business, carrying the intrinsic meanings of strength and courage typically associated with heterosexual male figures, with military or law enforcement backgrounds. The security industry has been associated with such stereotypical imagery since its very beginnings.
However, in the last few years, alternative members of the industry started to offer new and refreshing points of view, thus turning this arena where a wide range of different voices and contributions can be heard from an inclusive workforce representing a variety of backgrounds.
Beyond the stereotype to increase diversity and inclusion in the security sector
Mitigating threats will always involve the power of dialogue with a number of people who possess diverse perspectives and opinions, and the security industry in the UK has been proactive in wanting to eradicate the outdated image of the mission-driven muscular male security officer.
In the last few years, and increasingly after 9/11, awareness was raised throughout the world about the need for knowledgeable security professionals. This has led to increased job opportunities and longer-term career prospects in the varied arena of security services and management.
Security is not a solo profession; it is broad and is based on the synergy of many factors: legislation, current events, trends, and available technology all in synch with each other towards a common goal. It comes as a consequence then, that this diversity provides the right balance to fundamental risk-related processes, be they frontline services or across technology domains.
Diversity and inclusion in the security sector brings benefits
Forward-thinking companies providing security services understand the unlimited and widespread benefits inclusion and diversity bring. Getting different input from diverse groups is enriching on a corporate level and provides social inclusion on a wider scale as well: more and more people will ultimately feel safer if a more heterogenous community is represented within our industry.
The security territory is becoming a space of empowerment for women and any individuals who do not fall within categories classically associated with this sector and its activities.
Amanda McCloskey, Marketing Director, CIS Security