Equality and Diversity - the Next Steps

16 March 2016


In April 2015 the SIA completed research which focused on gender, ethnic minorities and disabilities. This independently conducted research looked at comparing the security industry with other industries including passenger transport, construction and the Police in relation to levels of equality and diversity. The research highlighted that there are significant improvements that need to be made to make the security industry more equal and diverse.

Key Findings

  • Only 9% of the SIA’s licence holders are women.
  • There is a perception that those with physical disabilities are hardly represented (1-2%) despite only the Door Supervisor role requiring physical intervention training.
  • SIA licence holders from ethnic communities believe that they are frequently placed in less attractive or more dangerous roles than their White British colleagues. For example, lone worker guarding roles at construction or transport sites.

The full summary is available in the June 2015 edition of the SIA Update.

Following this research, on Friday 11th March, the SIA hosted an event in central London focusing on equality and diversity within the private security industry. 46 people from different organisations and companies attended the event and discussed the research findings, shared their knowledge and experiences and considered what the next steps are to drive a change.

Why the industry should address its lack of diversity and equality?

There was the consensus that a greater commitment to equality and diversity in the private security industry would improve industry perceptions and secure new talent across a wider pool of candidates that may not ordinarily consider the security industry as a career.

What are the challenges to building an equal and diverse industry?

The negative perception of the industry as set in its ways is a significant challenge and securing a commitment to equality and diversity from buyers of security services, who shape demand, can also be an obstacle. Another challenge is the distinct lack of professionalism and career progression which means certain minority groups are not attracted to working within the industry.

How do you improve the levels of equality and diversity in the industry?

The group discussed the different recruitment options as a way to attract more diverse applicants such as highlighting career paths during recruitment. Sharing positive experiences and case studies were popular considerations. This made reference to the presentations from Sodexo and Showsec on good practice in implementing an initiative to recruit more women. A broader aspiration to educate buyers, managers and supervisors was also raised alongside creating a more diverse and professional business culture.

The next steps are for those companies and organisations who attended the workshop to action some of the practical steps discussed to improve equality and diversity in the private security industry.

The SIA wants to support the industry becoming more equal and diverse and our role as the private security regulator in driving this change is to promote and share good practice through regular updates, via our website and on social media.

Elizabeth France, the SIA Chair also commented:

"At the SIA, we are keen to follow up the research conducted into equality and diversity last year. One of the first steps was to invite debate on the findings, I was therefore delighted by the level of interest shown in the event we held; the range of organisations represented and the real engagement in the discussion suggests that the private security industry is ready to take steps to improve equality and diversity.
We heard inspiring examples of good practice and had an opportunity to discuss the benefits, barriers and practical steps needed to deliver a more diverse workforce across the private security industry.
While it is for the industry to take ownership of encouraging career progression in the sector and building a business culture that attracts more diverse candidates we are ready, as the regulator, to work with the industry to identify ways in which we can facilitate this change; a change we are confident will contribute to raising standards."

Further information:

  • The Security Industry Authority is the organisation responsible for regulating the private security industry in the United Kingdom, reporting to the Home Secretary under the terms of the Private Security Industry Act 2001. The SIA's main duties are: the compulsory licensing of individuals undertaking designated activities; and managing the voluntary Approved Contractor Scheme.
  • For further information about the Security Industry Authority or to sign up for email updates visit www.sia.homeoffice.gov.uk. The SIA is also on Facebook- this link opens in a new window (Security Industry Authority) and Twitter- this link opens in a new window (SIAuk).