Chair: Martin Gill

Panellists:
Richard Stanley, Head of UK Security at PwC (UK) 
Mike Hurst, Director at HJA Consult (UK)
David Scott, Managing Director at Skills for Security (UK)
Iskandar Jefferies, Director Key Accounts at Noonan Bidvest, ASIS UK Board Director (UK)

Key points

Richard Stanley, who started off as a security officer and is now a head of security, argued that security is in a good place to attract people. He notes that there has been a huge uplift in expectations as security has shifted to a holistic approach incorporating a diverse range of security services. Rather than seeing any post virus economic hardship as an impediment to security Richard posits the view that the enlarged talent pool provides opportunities. He warns that in the search for new territories it is important to remember that the old problems – such as terrorism – won’t be going away.  He reminds us that the perception of security is often not the reality and therein rests a challenge in seeking to attract good people. 

Mike Hurst draws attention to the wide range of careers available in the security sector. He rejects assertions that security is not an attractive sector to work in. He argues that the attractiveness of security is that it is a vital business function, albeit it is not regularly seen in that way. You will hear him disagree with David Scott about cyber security and in a discussion about the (lack of) attractiveness of security work to many women reminds us that women are in key leadership positions in the security sector. He calls on security people to take training courses; it is a good time for that.

David Scott notes the work of the BSIA and SIA in making a security career more attractive. He calls for more awareness of its good points, and highlights that it has been resilient to changes in circumstances; security is always needed. You will hear him discussing the role of apprenticeships, which are being researched for different security roles and at different levels including up to university. The aim is to offer a career path, something of the Holy Grail in security. He calls on employers to do more.

For Kandy Jefferies security is a second career and you will witness him reflecting on his own journey. He too started as a security officer and is attracted by different elements of security work. He is linked to many young security professionals and offers an insight into how they are progressing positively in their career. He reminds us that a key reason to view security as important is that in any crisis it offers an important component in the response, manpower as well as expertise a combination other groups can’t.

It remains true that people in school and university may often consider a career in some area of policing, or the military, but rarely private security. Yet the breadth of opportunities is enormous. The key for security is to present itself differently and this is a longstanding challenge. There is optimism form the panel but there are hurdles in the way only some of which does it look like he has a way of clearing.