8 March 2017 | Amanda McCloskey
The latest gender diversity research from the Security Industry Authority (SIA) says 9 per cent of security operatives are women.
There has been so much positivity in the FM sector about the potential for what can be achieved in areas such as well-being within this changing FM landscape. The BIFM ThinkFM event has been pivotal in promoting this. It has me thinking about how the private security function should be evolving and the part that the gender gap closing can play in this.
Perspectives on how to operate effective security, especially in the corporate sector, have evolved with a focus on softer skills, diplomacy and customer service. A first impression lasts, and it is important to get the team balance right.
There are several industry bodies attempting to effect change, notably Women in Security and WIFM, but modernisation will be slow unless as an industry we make a significant effort to even things up. Encouraging more women into the industry is an objective of mine for CIS Security.
We are making progress, with a steady increase in female recruitment over the past few years; 14 per cent of our staff are women. We want to get a better balance, hence our target of 20 per cent in our 2020 business plan.
Our clients express a desire to include more women in their teams. Many say they appreciate the diplomacy a woman can bring to a conflict situation. And many women who have joined us are often surprised when the roles exceed their expectations in terms of job satisfaction.
UK retailers are now piloting the introduction of more family-friendly shift patterns. Shorter shifts mean increased staff and increased costs for a business, but given that there is no precedent for this, we have no visibility of the long game. I suspect it will have cascading benefits for a business that could offset the extra costs involved. I hope that the security and FM sectors can learn from these initiatives.
Amanda McCloskey is sales and marketing director at CIS Security