Readers see a need for more diversity within security

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Wednesday, September 25, 2019

YARMOUTH, Maine—As security becomes a top industry in which to build a career, the industry is seeing a shortage of qualified, diverse candidates. To get a better gauge of where the industry is at on this topic, this month’s poll focuses on recruitment and diversity in security.

When asked if the security industry is suffering a talent shortage due to a lack of diverse, qualified candidates, the majority of respondents, 75 percent, said yes, with 19 percent saying no and the remaining 6 percent not sure.

“It is critical to add diversity to this industry,” said Ebony Haywood, director of Training & Development for Allied Universal Technology Services. “Our industry, as many, is constantly growing and changing. To compete with the best talent, we have to think different and do different. That means we can't use the same tactics to recruit people who may not even be aware of the security industry and it may encourage us to give someone an opportunity. I would love to see more diversity among women leaders and people from various backgrounds. The more diverse the industry becomes it opens doors for different relationships, which could lead to sales opportunities that are currently unknown. We have to be open to aligning with the world around us as we security and support diverse customers and industries.”

Another reader agreed, adding, “Isn't this what America is all about? United together for our country!”

Not everyone agreed, though, with one reader commenting, “If you focus on diversity at the expense of Competency and professionalism, the industry will suffer Tokenism or quotas do not work except to breed divisiveness and dissatisfied members.”

When asked if there is a current need for diversity in security professions, 72 percent said, “Yes, it’s time to mix things up a bit,” with another 12 percent saying, “Some, but in due time,” and 16 percent disagreeing and saying, “not at this time.”

One reader advised: “Don't be afraid to step outside your comfort zones and recruit from different areas.”

Another added: “It's not just diversity. The industry itself needs to ‘mix things up a bit’ in order to draw new talent. This generation is not interested in ‘installing alarms,’ but being ‘smart home technicians’ or something along those lines might be of interest.”

When looking at what is the best way to recruit quality, diverse candidates, 44 percent said it was best to recruit directly from local schools/universities, while 31 percent said “word of mouth/referrals” work best and the remaining 25 percent feeling that online via job posting websites, social media, etc., is the best route.

“The best way to recruit is a combination of all of the above!” said one reader. “I believe a well diverse industry would benefit the security industry incorporating the various significant contributions reflective of our the various communities we served ... especially within leadership areas. In addition, incorporating women and minorities would definitely bring a different perspective to the industry.”

Another added: “By all means start with schools etc. but there are so many established people in the pipeline who need education. I'm retired now, but I still see the same people denying the need for security or thinking that it can be ‘bolted on’ to an existing product. It's more a case of persuading existing designers that you should start with the security and then add on the functions.”

Joe Holland, VP at Lifesafety Power, pointed out, “Talented people are talented people. Red, black, white, yellow — makes no difference. Problem with security industry is that most do not understand the diverse level of jobs within the industry.”

Another reader added: “You just need the best people for the job based purely on their skill set, nothing else.”