Diversity in the Corporate Security Profession
Diversity is still underrepresented in security. Our profession continues to struggle to attract and/or advance diverse candidates into leadership ranks in numbers that accurately represent a cross section of the working population.
I have actively examined issues around diversity within the industry throughout my career. As a security leader in private industry multinationals, I was responsible for hiring balanced teams that reflected a global view. Now, as an executive recruiter, I intentionally seek out clients whose recruitment practices are driven by a spirit of diversity. As a result, SMR has been successful at partnering with leading organizations around the world to broaden the inclusiveness of their security organizations.
We have a global client base to which I relate having lived and worked around the world. That experience leads me to observe that diversity and inclusion can be very subjective. Views shift depending on location, an organization’s goals, and requirements surrounding regulatory agencies. Other prejudicial tendencies crop up in areas such as tribalism, regional geographies, accents, and national origin.
Unfortunately, diversity is still underrepresented in security. Our profession continues to struggle to attract and/or advance diverse candidates into leadership ranks in numbers that accurately represent a cross section of the working population.
Advantages of having a diverse and inclusive culture are well documented. However, I think it is important to understand the landscape and some of the underlying factors that require adjustment if we hope to change this dynamic.
Professional and executive roles in corporate security are often filled by people who previously worked in governmental roles prior to moving to the private sector before or after retirement. SMR’s internal research suggests that approximately 75-80% of this group globally have a government background.
There are various agencies heavily represented in corporate security. The number of women working within them is reported on average as under 20%. Because so many private sector security professionals transitioned from government agency roles, corporate security reflects that same percentage, if not slightly less.
Change will not happen quickly. Increasing awareness offers an opportunity, as does actively discouraging a philosophy of repeating things because they have always been done a certain way.
Areas that can be reevaluated include:
Are you rethinking your department’s security job descriptions? Contact us to learn how our organizational assessment and alignment advisors can assist to ensure you attract diverse security talent.