In the “before times” (BC, or before COVID-19), I had for a number of years been keen to write an article on the security industry’s challenge of finding and keeping good employees. In all my years of writing articles and over hundreds of interviews this was the single most common pain point I heard from manufacturers, dealers and integrators alike, often unsolicited. I finally got my chance to write a cover story about this topic and I was excited for it to come out in print — which it did, in March 2020.
While it was, if I do say so myself, a very thorough look at the issues the industry was facing at the time, I’m not sure the article got a lot of play, given the urgent matter of COVID-19 shutting down offices almost immediately after the issue posted online (and who knows where the print editions ended up that month!). For a time at the beginning of the pandemic crisis, workforce shortages were the last thing on people’s minds. It was more a question of how to keep current employees working.
But now the issue of talent shortage is back, and even more pressing than it was over two years ago. With the “Great Resignation,” rising costs of everything and a workforce that now expects to at least be offered some hybrid options, things are even more complicated for the security industry.
That is why I am particularly excited to publish this month’s cover story, written by SDM Senior Editor Rodney Bosch. “Solving Security’s Workforce Conundrum” revisits some of the same contacts I spoke to for the previous article: particularly notable women in the security industry such as Eddie Reynolds, Christine Lanning, Eva Mach and more. But this article also begins where the previous one left off.
“The issue of talent shortage is back, and even more pressing than it was over two years ago. With the ‘Great Resignation,’ rising costs of everything, and a workforce that now expects to at least be offered some hybrid options, things are even more complicated for the security industry.”
It is no longer “news” that one answer to the security workforce issue is fostering more diversity. In the intervening years, organizations such as the Security Industry Association and ESA have stepped up efforts to attract young, minority and female talent, as well as getting the word out to high schools and trade schools about what the security industry is all about.
Efforts that were fledglings just two years ago are now well established, well respected and growing by leaps and bounds.
But what really comes out in this story is how much work is yet to come.
The groundwork has been laid, but the shifting sands of COVID have also shaken up expectations and experiences. Hiring and interviewing is often done virtually now; work-life balance is an expectation more than a perk; and while almost everyone agrees on what is needed to draw new people into the security industry, actually implementing those efforts is hard.
As Bosch writes in his article, “Navigating diversity and inclusion programs while recruiting a steady pipeline of upcoming generations will be essential to the overall health of the security industry. The urgency is not lost on forward-thinking companies that recognize their viability to compete in the marketplace is dependent on winning the competition for the best talent. But the work does not stop there. To succeed in the fast-evolving labor market, companies are simultaneously adapting to hybrid and work-from-home (WFH) polices. Implementing remote onboarding and professional development — in addition to maintaining culture — are also challenging organizations.”
Be sure to read this month’s cover story for solid advice, real-world tips and examples of what is working for others.
And in case you missed it while you were reeling from the speed at which COVID-19 upended the world in March 2020, here is the previous article on this topic as well.
Pullquote: “The issue of talent shortage is back, and even more pressing than it was over two years ago. With the ‘Great Resignation,’ rising costs of everything, and a workforce that now expects to at least be offered some hybrid options, things are even more complicated for the security industry.”