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February 3, 2023

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DIVERSITY AND INCLUSION

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in security report released by ASIS

The ASIS Foundation, in partnership with UK-based research firm, The Clarity Factory has launched its Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DE&I) report for 2022.

The report aims to highlight DE&I challenges within corporate security and make suggestions towards building a culture that ‘respects and celebrates’ the diversity of its workforce.

The survey was anonymous receiving 474 responses, which were concentrated in the US, the UK, Canada, and Europe. According to ASIS, both informal and formal interviews took place with professionals across the security industry and with Chief Security Officers (CSOs) in sectors such as banking and finance, extractive, energy, defense and aerospace.

Maria Teresa Septien, CPP, Chair, ASIS Foundation Board of Trustees, “Valuing and leveraging a diverse workforce, and developing and retaining talent with different life experiences, will undoubtedly bring better and more strategic solutions to the world of security.

“We embarked on this research effort to better understand the current state of diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I) within corporate security: the nature and extent of diversity, the experience of diverse professionals within the industry, the thinking of corporate security leaders and the types of initiatives they are spearheading, the role of membership organisations, and outstanding challenges. Organisations like ASIS International have a key role to play in progressing DE&I efforts now and in the years to come.”

ASIS and The Clarity Factory reported that survey respondents were 38 percent women, 11 percent LGBTQIA+, 6 percent had a physical disability and 11 percent were neurodiverse.

The research points to the following practices for corporate security functions:

  • Use of metrics to track progress and hold managers accountable
  • Provide training for managers in conducting reviews and promotions
  • Offer equal access to career development enhancing opportunities
  • Identify routes for progression for the intelligence function to transition

“According to the study’s findings, corporate security departments have recently placed more focus on DE&I work,” said Rachel Briggs, OBE, Co-Founder and CEO of The Clarity Factory. “Corporate leaders acknowledge the importance of DE&I but also voice their displeasure that more hasn’t been done. Security isn’t the only sector suffering with it. Although there is still much to learn about the strategies that will work best for corporate security, this study gives us a glimpse into the most urgent problems now present in corporate security settings.”

Nearly all of the CSOs participating placed a ‘great emphasis’ on broadening the diversity of their teams, improving equity via the work, and fostering inclusive workplaces, according to the research. Their work across the three areas of DE&I was documented and fell into the following three categories:

  1. Collective Wisdom: Getting more diverse talent into corporate security – diversity
  2. Rewarding Talent: Ensuring all talent can rise equitably through the function – equity
  3. Unlocking the Diversity Dividend: Inclusive work environments – inclusion

The research cites that corporate security starts from a much lower diversity base than most other areas of the business. For example, data from SMR Group showed that 94 percent of their candidates for security, risk and resiliency roles globally were men, and 70 percent came from a former government background – generally military, police or intelligence.

Additionally, it also points to the following practices for security industry membership organisations to ‘further their role’ as change agents as their access and reach is significant. Those practices include:

  • Collecting data to understand their members and gather input and feedback on DE&I efforts
  • Revising talent spotting and selection processes to ensure diversity within boards and leadership
  • Using programing to enhance DE&I within the industry, including diversity of speakers, rules on entertainment at events, instigating and implementing codes of conduct, offering safe spaces for discussions about DE&I, ensuring fair approaches to awards, running programs for members on reverse mentoring, and promoting and supporting DE&I networks
  • Playing an active role in wider industry branding efforts, such as campaigns and career pathways

The results should be seen as illustrative and further work is needed to develop a statistical base for work on DE&I in corporate security, said ASIS. For more information, visit the ASIS website. 

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