How Can We Better Market the Security Industry?

Dakota Bierly headshot
Dakota Bierly, marketing and sales at Northland Controls, is a member of the SIA RISE Steering Committee and RISE’s AcceleRISE Subcommittee.

“How did you get started in security?” This simple question will tell you a lot about the people who make up our evolving industry. For the most part, you’ll hear responses ranging from serendipitous entrances to personal introductions or unexpected opportunities. Regardless of the answers, there is almost always one thing in common – people rarely set out to make their mark on our industry.

While this approach has brought great talent, innovation and ambition to the industry, it cannot be the primary method for continued growth and prosperity. This is apparent after the 2021 Security Benchmark Report identified staffing as one of the top 10 critical issues facing our industry. If we don’t take a more proactive stance to attract new talent, we will continue to face this challenge for years to come. But by better marketing the security industry, we can create a ripple effect that will impact everything from staffing to perception to innovation. But how can we, as young professionals and as an industry, be better at communicating the opportunities, the fulfillment and the excitement that comes from a career in security?

Capitalize on Purpose

According to McKinsey, nearly two-thirds of U.S.-based employees surveyed said that COVID-19 has caused them to reflect on their purpose in life, with nearly half reconsidering the kinds of work they do. As an industry, we can capitalize on this shift in thinking by focusing on the greater purpose security plays in our society. We come to work every day with one goal in mind: to create a safer, more secure environment for our clients. Regardless of whether you’re an integrator, a manufacturer or an end user, that mission is consistent. By focusing on this common understanding in our messaging, we can appeal to those looking for a greater alignment between their personal and professional values.

Bridge the Gap in Understanding

We’ve all experienced it. You’re at an event where someone asks the quintessential small talk question, “So, what do you do for work?” You explain that you work at a physical security company only to be met with a confused look or a conversation about the security guards they saw at a recent event. And while guards make up a valuable piece of our workforce, there is more to security.

One facet of the industry that can draw in attention is the push for more technological advancements. While the industry has been notoriously slow in adopting modern trends and technologies, the influx of companies focused on artificial intelligence, video analytics, robots, drones and other forward-thinking technology are starting to make strides. Leveraging these advancements to refine the messaging from the traditional guards and gates mentality to a more modern and “sexy” technology-driven environment can help attract new talent and bring security to the forefront of desirable careers. 

Highlight Opportunity

What does a career in security entail? That question has an infinite number of answers depending on the path a person takes. But to better market our industry, highlighting these pathways should be a priority. For someone making an industry change or for recent college graduates, a security company does not differ from many of the others they’re applying for – so why not us? In addition to industry-specific positions like technicians, installers or security consultants, these companies require departments like HR, finance, engineering and marketing.

For end users, security transcends all types of industries, with top brands like Meta, Google and Apple developing extensive teams to keep their people, property and reputations secure. Many college graduates or new talent would jump at the chance to work for companies like this but don’t always think of security as a way to do so. Sharing the diversity in roles and responsibilities at companies of all shapes and sizes is just another way to draw attention to the unique characteristics of this industry and the opportunities that lie within.

Develop the Pathways

There is a lack of educational and professional pathways leading people to the security industry. That’s clear by the way many of us have gotten here. But by focusing on the different entry points and promoting the different ways to get here, we can better communicate the reasons why security should be strongly considered as a career path. This approach will not only help us better market to top talent and leaders in the making, but also create general awareness of this industry.

In school, for example, there are few traditional “security degrees,” but there are many applicable majors that would seamlessly transition to security, such as construction management, program management, engineering or business. For those with nontraditional educations, such as trade school training or military service, there are countless ways to build a career within this industry. Internships and entry-level positions that have on-the-job training, like technician and SOC operator, give people an opportunity to build a strong foundation for a long and successful career.

Any successful marketing campaign is fueled by a compelling story. As the next generation of security leaders, we have the power to change the way security is perceived by creating a story grounded in purpose, impact and opportunity.

The views and opinions expressed in guest posts and/or profiles are those of the authors or sources and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Security Industry Association. 

This blog was originally published as an article in RISE Together, SIA RISE‘s newsletter for young security professionals.