Guest Post: Women in Security

Gail Essen by Gail Essen | 11.02.2015

Gail Essen is the ASIS International Women In Security (WIS) Council Chair.

At the ASIS show this fall, I had the honor of speaking on a panel on a meaningful topic that too seldom receives the discourse it deserves: women in security. Being one of the 22 women in the world who have both the Certified Protection Professional (CPP) and Physical Security Professional (PSP), I can’t stress enough how important it is for women to create a brand for themselves, and achieve industry certifications to enhance their voice and credibility.

During the session, we revealed a new study from Frost & Sullivan tracking trends of women in the industry. Here are some of the key insights:

  • While the percentage of women in the security workforce overall is stagnant from 2013, notable shifts have occurred in what roles women fill.
  • Women are dominating the governance, risk management and compliance (GRC) sector.
  • High growth areas for women include GRC and managerial roles, with a projected decrease in network architecture, consulting, and operational roles.
  • Despite much progress, inequality still prevails. Women have a higher level of academic achievement in the industry overall than men, yet continue to make less money
  • Women prioritize non-monetary incentives – such as flexible schedules and work places, certification expenses, and training programs – more than men
  • The study found a career churn of nearly 20%for women in the past year, which is higher than usual, but not as high as men in the bracket of voluntary employment change. This implies women are less inclined to make moves toward better pay, title, and/or work environment.

Contrary to the study, participation in the ASIS Women in Security (WIS) Council and its global liaison is increasing. The Council – made up of three pillars to “support, inspire, and promote” women in the industry – is currently focusing on the importance of self-promotion and certifications. Of the 5,896 CPP holders, only 6% are women, and of the 1,539 PSP holders, 5% are women.

In the video above, I share some more thoughts on how women can get ahead, and how the security industry can help them succeed. To learn more and get involved in the ASIS WIS Council, visit their website.