Finding and attracting qualified talent is one of the top challenges facing the security industry. In the Security Industry Association’s 2022 Security Megatrends report, workforce development ranked No. 5 on the list of the top trends shaping the industry, as companies struggled to find installers and labor shortages struck the supply chain.
When asked about the best places to find great candidates, Elaine Palome, director of human resources, Americas at Axis Communications, said, “Anywhere you can get them! Seriously, though, security employers have had to get very creative and cast a wide net when finding qualified candidates these days.”
SIA spoke with Palome and other experts in the industry to get their tips and perspectives on drawing in great employees. Here are the ways they said their companies are finding talent.
One way many security companies attract and develop young talent is through offering internship opportunities.
“We hire 20 to 30 interns per year,” Palome said of Axis’ internship program. “They do great work and are easy on the budget, and many convert to permanent employees when they graduate.”
According to Amber Weaver, vice president of talent acquisition at ADT, how security companies position themselves plays a major role in reaching and attracting students and young professionals for its internships.
“When searching for the next generation of talent, you must meet them where they’re at,” Weaver told SIA. “At ADT, we set out to redefine our employer value proposition and provide a realistic view of what’s it like to work here.”
Weaver said her company is focusing on diversity, equity and inclusion as a key component of its internship recruitment.
“We’re launching a formal internship program coupled with intentional development opportunities, mentorship and outreach efforts with Hispanic serving institutions and historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs).”
Offering educational and professional development opportunities like mentorship is another way some companies are growing their talent pipelines. Cypress Integration Solutions mentors and recruits interns through its FIRST Robotics program, according to Elizabeth Lowe, the company’s marketing communication director.
“Most staff at Cypress have been involved with this robotic team program, which motivates students to develop STEM [science, technology, engineering and math] skills, as well as business and life skills,” Lowe said. “The element of competition is what motivates students! FIRST internationally streams the launch of a new three-on-three game annually, then teams build their robots to compete on a gymnasium-sized field. During robot building and competitions, students work alongside adult mentors, who help them develop engineering, programming, and mechanical skills that are a great foundation for working in many industries. They also observe students’ dedication, work ethic and suitability for roles within the mentor’s companies.”
Lowe noted to SIA that offering sponsorship and mentorship programs is “definitely a commitment” but stresses that it is a worthwhile one.
Apprenticeship programs are another way security companies are reaching and developing new talent.
“We have partnered with some of the local technical high schools to bring in high school seniors who may not be college-bound for apprenticeships in technical support and other areas where a degree may not be required,” Palome said. “We also partner with the [U.S. Department of Defense] SkillBridge program to provide apprenticeships for military professionals transitioning into civilian occupations. Their salaries are paid by the government, so there is no cost to the employer. At the end of the apprenticeships, many are hired for regular positions.”
Weaver highlighted ADT Commercial’s apprenticeship technician program as another example.
“This three-year program provides 6,000 hours of on-the-job training and offers an incredible opportunity to candidates to enter the industry and begin a long-term career path.”
Online & In-Person Outreach
Organizations are reaching out to potential job and internship candidates through both online and in-person channels. Weaver pointed to targeted social media outreach as a key way ADT is engaging with prospective talent.
“Candidates know they are in demand, so we focus on storytelling to attract and inform candidates as much as we can before they get in the door,” said Weaver of the company’s social media strategy. “We’ve established realistic job previews such as ‘a day in the life’ of our contact center team, TikTok recruiting videos and our ‘Technology Talent Tuesday’ LinkedIn series to spotlight ADT as a tech-forward company.”
Palome cited Axis Communications’ open house events, designed to educate and draw in job seekers.
“We’ve conducted several [open houses] at our Axis Experience Centers across the country,” she told SIA. “The attendees meet hiring managers, learn about our products, experience our unique culture and have an opportunity to play with some of our technology.”
Consider incorporating these takeaways and suggestions into your company’s hiring strategy! And remember, you can place job listings on the Foundation for Advancing Security Talent (FAST) jobs board at advancingsecurity.org. Job listings are free for members of SIA and the Electronic Security Association (ESA).