Diversity in the workforce is critical for many reasons, and recent research from McKinsey and Company makes it increasingly clear that companies with more ethnic, gender and cultural diversity perform better financially. The Security Industry Association (SIA) noted the importance of inclusiveness in the industry in its 2019 Megatrends report and has taken major steps toward advancing diversity and growing the talent pipeline over the last year.
SIA is committed to leading the security industry toward gender parity and bringing more women to the field. On March 8, 2018 – International Women’s Day – SIA announced the establishment of the Women in Security Forum, a group for both women and men that offers programs, professional development opportunities and networking events that support the participation of women in the security industry. Key efforts and activities include the launch of the Progress Award, which individuals who advance opportunities and pave the way to success for women in the security industry through volunteerism, professional development and efforts that foster a diverse workforce; networking events for women in the security industry; the fall 2018 issue of SIA’s security technology journal Security Technology Insights, which featured entirely women-authored content; and a partnership with Security Sales & Integration to develop SECURE Perspectives, a new monthly column profiling successful women in the security industry and offering their insights, perspectives and advice.
SIA also partnered with Women in Cybersecurity (WiCyS), the premier organization with national reach dedicated to bringing together women in cybersecurity from academia, research and industry to share knowledge, experience, networking and mentoring. In 2018, SIA joined as a sponsor of the WiCyS 2019 conference, which – now in its sixth year –offers presentations, workshops, informal discussion sessions, panels and more. Additionally, SIA and WiCyS committed to work together to produce a workforce development project in 2019.
In an effort to draw more young people to careers in the security industry and grow and diversify the talent pool, SIA has created free academic memberships for students. Academic members can grow their knowledge and career paths in the industry by leveraging SIA’s resources and networking opportunities, with access to all SIA publications, reports, webinars, networking events, official communications and more.
In late 2018, SIA committed to join the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in its NEXT-GEN Business Partnership program, which is designed to “develop tomorrow’s diverse business leaders.” Through this program, SIA will partner with Howard University and potentially other universities to promote employment opportunities within the security industry. In 2019, as part of this partnership, SIA will sponsor two Howard University students as summer interns, including an all-day site visit to a SIA member company at which the students can learn key facets of the business.
SIA’s RISE community for young security talent and those new to the industry helps foster young professionals’ careers through fun networking events held during top trade shows and in major cities across the country, career growth webinars, scholarships for education and professional development and career tracks at ISC West and East. Additionally, in 2018 SIA began plans on the first-ever AcceleRISE – a new conference for tomorrow’s security leaders featuring top-quality idea sharing, coaching, business skills development, networking and inspiration. AcceleRISE will be held Aug. 14-16, 2019, in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
In 2018, SIA created the Employer’s Complete Guide to Hiring, designed to help security companies attract, interview, hire, onboard and retain high-quality talent, and SIA has a number of other initiatives in progress around workforce development, including a first-of-its-kind wage and benefit survey of security manufacturers and integrators.
In fall 2018, SIA and the Electronic Security Association (ESA) committed to a joint workforce development project, which will be conducted in 2019. This partnership will develop strategies to help SIA and ESA members identify, recruit and retain qualified employees for a variety of roles within manufacturer and integrator businesses. These workforce development efforts will include outreach to academic institutions to increase awareness of the security industry and careers, research on the industry’s workforce development and possible solutions and continuing programs to help those already in the industry stay current with rapidly evolving technologies.
These and other initiatives will help SIA continue to lead the way in bringing in a new generation of professionals and expanding on the diversity and inclusiveness of the security industry.