Security as a profession
By Andrea BlausteinFeatures Opinion
As someone who is seeking a long term job opportunity, I have been browsing numerous security job boards recently. These are online groups dedicated to SECURITY careers. I have found opportunities for blog posters, proof readers, telephone sales, “genuine writing jobs that pay instantly,” paid surveys…need I go on? The owners / managers of these groups on various sites allow these posts and in fact seem to support them by not deleting them and blocking the posters.
I believe the problem is systemic and we are responsible for it. For many years, possibly decades, we have seen ourselves as working in jobs. Many fell into it and stayed with it. Some were put in security positions to keep them out of others’ way until they retired. Some figured they were highly qualified for careers in security after a year or many in policing or military service. Some actually chose it as a career path and went to school for the purpose of learning and developing skills, then began the trek of working as security guards, moving up the ladder slowly but building essential skills and knowledge on the way.
However we got here, we are here…and many have learned the intricacies of security very well indeed. We have nevertheless, made one critical error: we still see it as a job. Security is a profession — one that is both honourable and essential.
I find it incredible that those who cut and colour hair for a living need to go to a training school for a year or more, do a period of internship of 1,000 hours or more and then be licensed. They must maintain training and keep up to date on trends and products. In security? None of the above. I have seen people get hired into security management roles who were previously selling grass seed. I have seen security executives in positions because they are yes men and women and will not step across that line of actually doing what is needed for security. Risk management policy has gone awry and has become a “getting the bonus” policy.
So how do we fix this? It is not going to be an easy road. As Executive Director of the Canadian Council of Security Professionals, I have set out a strategic plan to address this. We are setting up working groups to look at every side of the issue, for every level of security professional. We will have government, corporations and other stakeholders as participants in the process, including very importantly, the front line security personnel. This will produce many interesting exchanges. We will be focusing on skills, standards, certifications and legislation. We must raise the profile and professionalism of those in the security industry. We must have top down and bottom up approaches. But either way you come at it, it ultimately must come down to the grassroots of it: you and I, the security professionals who believe in the profession and are willing and ready to roll up our sleeves to make change happen.
I have spoken to numerous security executives in both Canada and the U.S. and on these points we all agree. Benchmarking with international trading and business partners will benefit us all. Strategic partnerships across many borders allow for benchmarking and the use of lessons learned. It starts with each of us, every security professional. Each country must set parameters which work in their country, with their cultural and societal circumstances. Some countries are farther ahead than Canada…but likely not nearly as far ahead as they might like to think. There are key points which are irrefutable which will be addressed such as the skills and knowledge required to make the right decisions, from a security perspective. We need to understand that the right security decisions are effective, efficient and ethical. I have met many security professionals who impressed me with their knowledge and ability to deal in a professional and ethical way with whatever was thrown at them. They are leaders in the community and need to be recognized and highlighted as mentors and role models.
If you are interested in participating in the working groups, as mentors or through other means of support, please contact me. These working groups will serve us all. We welcome participation from across diverse security backgrounds and geographic regions.
Andrea Blaustein is Executive Director of the Canadian Council of Security Professionals, Co-Chair of the National Capital Security Partners’ Forum and was a founding member of the Convention Centre Security Professionals of Canada, She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or 1-800–461-7748.
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