When I started out in the security industry, I had the good fortune of being hired and subsequently mentored by SDM’s chief editor at the time, Susan Whitehurst. There was nothing unusual about a female working in the publishing industry; however, the test was to cover a market segment — electronic security — that was, as it still is today, primarily male. 

Whitehurst recognized that not only did our team of mostly women journalists need to understand the subject matter, but that, as a minority in the industry we needed to fit in and be taken seriously. So, she arranged for all of the editors to go through the National Training School’s Level 1 course, be tested, and become certified alarm technicians. She sent us to seminars and out in the field, so that we could become better educated about business operations, technologies and installation methods.

In effect, she broadened our horizons and ultimately the scope of people employed in the security industry — something the industry has been in need of for almost a generation. In this month’s cover story, “Winning the Security Talent War,” Managing Editor Karyn Hodgson writes, “It would be hard to find a topic more pressing across the entire security industry than the current workforce shortage.” The article quotes Ric McCullough, president of PSA Security Network, who states that “The good news is the majority of the reason we are trying so desperately to find new talent is the security industry is growing so rapidly … Then, if the workforce for security-related professions isn’t growing enough, we are all trying to share what exists.” 

While the solution, just like the problem, is multi-faceted, one of the larger parts of the equation is diversity in who we hire. Diversity in all ways — gender, age, ethnicity, geographic — is now understood to be highly beneficial to performance and outcomes. Many studies and reports illustrate it. For example, according to “The Truth About Diverse Teams," by Greg Satell, published at Inc.com on April 22, 2018, “Researchers at the University of Michigan found that diverse groups can solve problems better than a more homogenous team of greater objective ability.” 

According to Elaine Palome, director of human resources for the Americas at Axis Communications, “It is no longer a ‘nice-to-have’ women and minorities as part of our talent acquisition plan. Companies successful in winning the war for talent have to include women and minorities.”

Further, Palome describes in the article that begins on page 60, “All research tells you that diversity leads to more creativity, innovation, bringing different perspectives to the table, and it also mimics our customer base.”

This is a read that we hope will spark some ideas and help you with your own talent pool. Please let us know what you think by emailing the editor at stepanekl@bnpmedia.com

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