International Women’s Day (IWD) is on March 8 each year and is a global day celebrating women and promoting action to accelerate gender parity. This year the IWD theme is ‘Balance for Better’.
In support of IWD and the goal of achieving a ‘better balance’, MSS Security has been actively working towards a future of gender parity. Our goal is to reach 25% female participation by 2020, through management, mentoring and being responsive to women’s needs. Currently we are on track with 17.7% female participation and have implemented a range of initiatives to support us along the way.
We now have a dedicated gender diversity page on our website, an employee referral program that offers extra rewards for female candidates referred, a partnership with Industry Women Central and a Platinum stand at the CareerOne VFair for Women.
One of the biggest challenges we face is attracting women to our workforce, due simply to the public perception of our industry and the idea of what a security officer’s role involves, which is often very different to the reality.
The great news is that the face and nature of the security industry is shifting and is now offering more customer service based roles in high-rise and corporate buildings, universities, hospitals, galleries, libraries and airports, which some women may find more attractive than traditional security-type environments.
To celebrate IWD, meet three of our female employees all working in different roles within the security industry:
Firstly, let’s meet Jane, Business Manager in Victoria:
“After working in various administration roles, I was looking for a career change which would allow me to flex my customer service skills and get out from behind a desk. Shortly after getting my security licence, I joined MSS Security and started my security career at the Reserve Bank of Australia as an armed officer. Working closely with the experienced team onsite taught me a lot about the security industry as well as allowing me to develop my skills. Being the only female officer on the team was not quite as daunting as I thought it would be and I found that I was a welcomed fresh face.
I then joined the Service Delivery team as a coordinator where I developed a deeper understanding of the business’ operations and then led the team as a Service Delivery Manager in 2017 for a short period of time before taking on my current role of Business Manager – Client Services.
With the change in client expectations and perceptions – from pure security to more of a customer centric service delivery – comes a strong push from clients to integrate more female security officers into their teams onsite. In my experience, especially in the corporate security market, the presence of a female security officer can often assist in the de-escalation of a potential situation as well as increase customer engagement with an increasing number of female clients and stakeholders who are also challenging the norms of their respective fields. The increase in diversity within our security teams allows us to deliver a robust service which brings together security knowledge, customer service skills and life experiences.
My advice for females working in or starting out in the security industry is to have the confidence to take control of situations, find a mentor that you trust, learn from people in your team, and don’t listen to anyone who tells you that you will not succeed because of your gender.”
Jane, Business Manager – Client Services, VIC
Meet Michelle, Site Supervisor in South Australia:
“My circumstances had changed and I was required to go back to work. A parent at my children’s school suggested I work for him at his security company. I did my best to stick out the difficult hours for a few months however as a sole parent, this took a toll on my two young children and unfortunately the company wasn’t able to offer any family-friendly hours so I looked elsewhere for employment.
In 2007, I was employed with MSS Security (Chubb Security at the time) for casual hours at a hospital. Not long after, I was offered a part time position at the Commonwealth Bank control room. Although the hours were awkward at first, my family, in particular my autistic child, found having a routine to be extremely beneficial. After an additional 18 months I was offered an extra day’s work at GM Holden reception. Although two part time positions worked well for the next few years, as my children got older, I jumped at the chance for a full-time positon at GM Holden where I worked for another few years. I’m now working as the Site Supervisor at the Glenside Data Centre and have been for the past seven years.
Here, with seven years on, I am still doing a job which I absolutely love. The hours are perfect, the people I work with and for are even better. I have been incredibly lucky to have been given the chance to work at the Data Centre and I have since achieved a double Diploma in Business & Management to assist me with what my job entails. The experience and knowledge I have gained throughout my time with MSS Security is vast.”
Michelle, Site Supervisor, SA
Meet Karen, Commercial and Business Support in Australian Capital Territory:
Pictured above, the females in the ACT office doing the IWD Balance for Better pose. (L to R) Back Row: Michelle, Karen, Sarah. Middle Row: Jessica, Rebecca, Jemma. Front Row: Ashlee.
“I have previously worked in various administration roles, from banking to office management. MSS Security offered me a position which had more variety than I had experienced. The ACT office is a small and cohesive team that makes the work week an enjoyable one. When I first started in the office, I was one of only three full time females. We now have seven women working full time in the office and are now outnumbering our male colleagues.
Although my role involves invoicing, supporting payroll and general office duties, I have also had opportunity to do many inductions with new Security Officers, and have met many women throughout this process who have decided to take up security as a new career.
As a Security Officer in the ACT, our brand is front of house at many Government Departments and this gives our workforce a sense of pride and purpose in presenting a helpful and efficient presence. We have increased the female numbers in the guarding force over the past few years enabling young women to learn reception skills as well as the more demanding roles at some of our other sites. Experienced female guards support the new recruits, and lead by example ensuring we have a work force with good rapport and work ethic.
We have many Security Officers who have been with MSS Security for a long period of time and I have enjoyed meeting many of the characters within our industry at our bi-annual awards ceremony (which I organise). The security industry is not one dimensional; it has a varied work force of people looking for different things in life.. Our shiftwork rosters enable officers to enjoy a work life balance that a 9-5 job cannot necessarily do, and MSS Security as an employer encourages this as much as they can.
I enjoy my job very much and feel that the company is supportive of all staff whether they are out in the field or behind the scenes in the office. MSS Security has a strong presence in the ACT and I am proud to be a part of a united workforce that shows a diversity in culture and gender.”
Karen, Commercial and Business Support, ACT
If you know a woman who’d thrive in a security career, don’t forget MSS Security’s Employee Referral Program. As part of that program, if, as an employee, you successfully refer a female candidate you will receive a $75 gift voucher when their appointment begins and another for the same amount if they stay with us for six months.