It’s no secret that women in security haven’t been given a fair shot. In sectors that are traditionally male-dominated, women often struggle to prove their capability and become equal to their male counterparts. As you can imagine, the security industry is no exception.
To get some more information around the topic, and to take a closer look at female security in the private sector specifically, we recently had the opportunity to talk with Kate Bright on our latest podcast episode.
With over 15 years of experience, Kate tells us about her experiences when she was training to be a female bodyguard and how she started her own private security company, expertly sharing her knowledge and insight for all of our listeners.
If you’re interested in a similar career path to Kate, and want to know more about the changing role of women in security, we’ve got you covered.
Security sector statistics: a snapshot
When you look at the security sector as a whole, it’s clear that it is still very much a male-dominated industry. Yet, it doesn’t need to be.
Studies show that a diverse team in any industry is going to benefit an organisation or individual for the better, especially when it comes to security in private staffing.
According to Deloitte, diversity improves innovation by 20% and can reduce risk by 30%, supporting smooth implementation and increasing trust. And when considering a private bodyguard’s role and responsibilities, many of their clients will be high-profile individuals so having a defined level of trust is absolutely essential.
Of course, employing more women doesn’t just promote diversity, but it’s also incredibly beneficial to any workplace culture through driving creativity, broader thinking, fresh viewpoints, and financial performance.
This is becoming more apparent, and outdated views of women staying home whilst their husbands are the breadwinners are fortunately becoming few and far between – making it a lot easier for female security guards to make their mark within the industry.
While the percentage of women applying for jobs within security is still low, they’re continuing to rise (the latest figures show that 11.3% of applicants are women, as opposed to 9.2% in 2016), proving that historical ideologies are beginning to shift and is an encouraging sign of progression, albeit small.
The growing demand for ‘invisible’ private security
According to Kate, there is a growing demand for female bodyguards in the private staffing sector. But, why?
In our latest podcast episode Kate explains that this is because some clients embrace the ability to have ‘invisible’ security, which essentially means security guards that don’t look like they are. She tells us that women can easily blend in with a client’s entourage, whether as a member of the family or a PA, which is a big plus for some individuals.
Instead of standing out playing the “obvious bodyguard”, Kate is able to fade into the background, carrying out important security checks unbeknownst to the rest of the public. As a woman in a male-dominated industry, Kate says this works to her advantage. It draws less attention and allows for a more discreet operation, which some clients favour.
As a result, the demand for female bodyguards is steadily on the rise. Currently 10 to 15% of the requests that Kate’s company, UMBRA International Group, receives are for female close protection operatives.
Physical confrontation is the last resort
When looking to pursue a career in security, it’s only normal to be concerned about the possibility of physical confrontation. However, according to Kate, it rarely needs to occur. In fact, she explains that if it does come to that, something has gone wrong along the way.
The key to effective security is a proactive mindset, preventative measures, and most importantly, an empathetic approach to the client’s needs. Kate tells us that the best way to keep your client safe is to read the situation, plan ahead and avoid dangerous situations altogether.
It’s clear that the role of women in security is changing for the better, especially when looking at the private sector. Some high-profile individuals specifically favour a female bodyguard as they’re able to ‘blend in’ a bit better than traditional security guards.
There’s no need to be afraid of violence, as experienced female bodyguard Kate Bright tells us that it rarely ever gets to that point, which she believes will attract more women to take up the profession in the future.
Progression is happening, and albeit small, it is a positive sign for the future of women in security.
Watch the full episode now
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