When you think about employees in the security and facilities management (FM) sector, it is all too easy to think about men. But there is no reason why a woman shouldn’t thrive in the varied, challenging and exciting careers in security and FM.
Equality isn’t a women’s issue, it’s a business issue, and gender equality is essential for economies and businesses to thrive, so it’s important to get it right.
As we approach International Women’s Day on 8th March, with this year’s theme of equality #eachforequal, we take a look at how you can support and foster women taking strides in a career in security and FM.
As a business, the first thing you need to address goes right back to the very first sentence of this article – as an employer supporting women in the security and FM industry, you need to address any unconscious bias in favour of men. The bias may be limited to one or two people within your organisation, or it may be deeply embedded in the company’s culture, but it needs to be questioned and actioned.
There are a number of ways of addressing that bias:
1. Showcase senior women in your company
One way is to profile careers of senior women either within your own company or within the industry as a whole, perhaps by sharing a ‘day in the life’ and what the role entails. This will have the effect of inspiring other women to either move into the security and facilities management industry or further their career within the sector. It will also serve as a reminder to everyone within your organisation that women can carry out the role successfully.
2. Write clear job descriptions
When preparing job descriptions, make sure to explain the complete nature of the role and include specific qualities such as organisation, communication and people management – all essential skills for the job, but not necessarily those you might think of first. It is important to make it clear in job descriptions that this is an industry where everyone can thrive, regardless of gender, as long as they have the right skills and qualities for the role.
3. Establish family-friendly policies
Family-friendly policies are important to many employees, so they should be important to employers too. A company which offers flexible hours to those with children or elderly or disabled relatives will benefit from employees who are happier and therefore more engaged in their work. As an equal opportunities employer, you should offer family-friendly policies to both men and women, creating more opportunities for all employees.
4. Work to stamp out stereotypes
Stereotyping about what it means to work in security and facilities management could be enough to put women off applying for roles within the industry. To really support women in the sector, do your bit to stamp out these stereotypes by highlighting the varied skills and roles in security and FM. In fact, senior management within FM and security requires lots of transferable skills seen in a variety of industries, including people management, budget management, communication and organisation – all areas which are equally applicable to women as they are to men.
5. Be honest about your expectations
Lastly, when it comes to interviews, be open and honest with both your recruiter and interviewees. Be clear about the skills and qualities you are looking for and the culture you are fostering for the future. Let them know that opportunities within your organisation are open to all – regardless of what has gone before or the historical bias in the industry. So, if you have never recruited a female manager before, let your recruiter and interviewees know that won’t stop you recruiting one this time around.
With the right skills, experience and qualities, security and FM really is a career for all. Now is the time to start supporting women to make that happen.