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ASIS 2015: Spotlight on Women in Security

With another ASIS show in the books, we’re still pondering the discussions that took place at booth 901 and beyond. Among themes of biometrics, the cloud, and the Internet of Things, one high-impact topic that emerged (and too seldom does) is women in the security industry.

Honeywell Building Solutions’ Gail Essen​ – a Certified Protection Professional (CPP), Physical Security Professional (PSP) and vice chair of the ASIS Women in Security (WIS) Council – moderated one of many well-attended WIS sessions during the show. The panel, which was followed by an open and engaging Q&A, revealed a new study from Frost & Sullivan tracking trends of women in the industry. Here are some key insights that emerged:
  • 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 has 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.
On a smaller but significant scale, participation in the ASIS WIS Council 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.

Check out the below video where Gail shares advice 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.