Victoria Ekhomo, IFPO Nigeria, and Sandi Davies, IFPO Executive Director.
I believe that it is an advantage to be a woman working in the security industry today.
I never imagined that I would work in the security industry. I have a communications degree. I dreamed of working as a journalist. But practicality set in. I was getting married and starting a family. At that stage in my life, I wanted a full-time job close to home.
I got my first job in the security industry thanks to a good friend. He knew that I was looking for something with stability and hired me to process payroll. I was attracted to the hours and benefits that I would receive. I intended for that job to be temporary. My journalism career could wait a few more months.
Fourteen years – and several jobs in various departments – later, I am now a vice president for a multinational security company. In retrospect, I doubt that I would have risen through the ranks as quickly as I did if I had worked in another field. The security industry is growing more quickly than many other industries, and that means that there are great opportunities to succeed if you work hard and stay the course.
Even with the many opportunities for women in security, we remain underrepresented compared to our male counterparts. In 2014 the U.S. Department of Labor reported that only 7.5 percent of security and fire alarm installers, 18 percent of information security analysts and23 percent of people working in the security guard sector were women. Despite these statistics, there have been substantial increases in the number of women entering the industry in recent years, and there are tremendous stories of women being promoted to senior-level positions. The balance of power is shifting.
Security executives are actively promoting and recruiting women because they recognize the correlation between diversity and business success. In 2017 McKinsey & Company did a comprehensive study on the state of women in corporate America.
More than 70,000 employees from 222 companies were surveyed. The 222 participating companies were ranked based on their representation of women in manager and senior leadership roles and the average rate at which they promote women across their talent pipeline. The top-performing companies in the group had the highest ratings in a weighted composite of these measures.
Forward-thinking executives know that a diverse workplace promotes creativity and that the security industry, perhaps more than most, is in need of creative people. Women and men think a little differently, and that’s a good thing. When we challenge prevailing opinions on operational requirements or the company’s branding strategy, we are defying the status quo. Constantly defying the status quo is how companies evolve. Being a woman in the security industry today is an advantage because there is organizational support to hire, promote and retain women in the name of diversity.