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1.19.23 – SSI – ALEXANDRIA, Va. and LONDON

ASIS Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI) report for corporate security market identifies challenges and makes suggestions for culture change.

A new groundbreaking Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI) report from ASIS confirms what most in the security field already knew: the market is male dominated. The study, which was released by the ASIS Foundation in partnership with UK-based research firm The Clarity Factory, cites data showing 94% of job applicants for global corporate security positions are males. Moreover, 70% of job candidates came from a former government background – generally military, police or intelligence.

The first of its kind Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI) report, Empowering Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in Corporate Security 2023, was conducted by the association to reinforce its commitment to support global security managers. The report highlights DEI challenges within corporate security and suggestions towards building a culture that respects and celebrates the diversity of its workforce; recruiting, developing, and retaining diverse talent necessary to address the challenges faced by the security profession.

According to 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.” She went on to add, “We embarked on this research effort to better understand the current state of diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) 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 organizations, and outstanding challenges. Organizations like ASIS International have a key role to play in progressing DEI efforts now and in the years to come.”

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 – it is a diverse cohort but struggles to transition into mainstream security roles

“According to the study’s findings, corporate security departments have recently placed more focus on DEI work,” said Rachel Briggs, OBE, co-founder and CEO of The Clarity Factory. “Corporate leaders acknowledge the importance of DEI 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.”

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Nearly all of the CSOs participating in this research effort placed a great emphasis on broadening the diversity of their teams, improving equity via the work, and fostering inclusive workplaces. Their work across the three areas of DEI 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 global security recruiting firm SMR Group showed that 94% of their candidates for security, risk and resiliency roles globally were men, and 70% came from a former government background – generally military, police or intelligence.

Additionally, it also points to the following practices for security industry membership organizations 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.