The security industry needs more women.
Thankfully more and more people are pushing for diversity and equality across all sectors, but there are plenty of industries where men still dominate the workforce. And security is one of them. Whether they mean to or not, people stereotype who works in the industry, their first assumption being that that person is male, so when an email comes through that is addressed ‘Dear Sir’, no wonder women are put off.
It’s an imbalance that we need to address, fast. Women are an incredible asset to all sectors, and security is no different, but what exactly is it that makes them such a valuable addition? To find out, security experts for homes and businesses, Expert Security UK, asked three women who are at the top of their profession.
There are certain skills that make you a perfect candidate for working in the security industry. Attention to detail, strong surveillance, working well with others and, last but not least, excellent communication.
Lauren Bilney, Office and Vetting Manager at White Star Security Services Ltd, said:
“Being a woman in the security industry, I have faced many problems. Many people stereotype a security officer and what they should look like. A security officer is a person no matter what age, gender, height, weight and sexuality you are, a security officer can be anyone.
“Of all the personal challenges I have faced in the security industry such as one of the biggest is being stereotyped for my appearance. I look too young to be in security and I’m not built to be a security officer. People’s expectations of a security officer is a muscular male.
“Women are an asset to the security industry because women can access areas where men can’t. We often have better communication skills that can defuse a situation and can offer a better and more level-headed approach. The security industry is always changing, and right now it is adapting into a place where women are more involved than ever.”
One-on-one situations are bound to arise when you work in the security industry. Whether you’re a guard in a shopping center or specializing in cybersecurity, it’s important that you can relate to whoever you are helping. Good empathy is also essential to building strong relationships and can keep loyal clients returning to you time and time again.
Leah Booth, Project and Service Coordinator at Expert Security UK, explains more:
“I am a mother of two and work full time. So it can be stressful and I have to multitask to ensure things get done. I find that I and other women can cope better with stress and have good organizational skills.
“Women can prioritize well and have good communication skills to deal with the task at hand. Women have a good eye for detail and often ensure that goals are met. I also find some women are good at relating to others through empathy and this can be better for dealing with disputes and tension.
Many women have a way of keeping the customer happy, in being efficient, keeping in contact and building that customer relationship. People find it easier to confide in a woman and women are good listeners, which is good for relationship and team building within a business.
“In a nutshell, I feel women are good at multitasking and dealing with many difficult challenges head on and have the ability of achieving results. Security companies hire women for long-term success!”
Women feel more comfortable approaching, dealing with and speaking with other women. Especially when faced with the often intimidating nature of a uniform, it’s natural for a woman to feel more security dealing with a female security guard. After all, isn’t that what the security industry is all about? Make people feel safe?
“The role of a female working in the security industry is to give balance,” says Joy Darch of VIP Security Services. “We work alongside our male colleagues and deal with all incidents on equal terms. This can be difficult when working with some cultures as women are not recognized as equal. Also, size and build can also be a factor. Many male security guards have quite a physical presence, which can help ward off threats, but not all of us ladies are built in the same way. We may not be the same size or have the same physical strength, but with women, on the frontline, we’re more adept at reacting to situations and deal with problems professionally.
“Sometimes it’s tricky to generalize, but like in life, women are usually better than men at dealing with males in heated situations. We’re good mediators and we’re able to get guys to see another side of the argument and to just ‘quieten down’ take some time out, which in many incidents is enough to quell a situation. It’s also ideal for women to see female security guards as sometimes they may feel more able to talk or reach out to a woman than a man.”
Women are fast becoming one of the security industry’s biggest assets. Now that companies in this industry are backing their female employees, they’re sure to go from strength-to-strength leading the way for future women in security.
About the author: Danny Scholfield is the managing director at Expert Security.