We are frequently asked by both candidates and hiring managers what the future holds for someone seeking to advance their career in the corporate security profession. They want to know what kind of roles companies are currently recruiting for. Almost every conversation includes a question about how strong the current market is.
The corporate security job market is at the strongest it has been in over two decades. There have been years when the quantity of open roles has been higher. However, current positions typically require a higher level of sophistication.
Security professionals have more opportunity to participate with leadership teams and have the potential to exert greater influence in organizations. Total compensation packages are at a level that would have been unheard of even 10 years ago.
Accompanying these shifts is the need for a higher level of business acumen, executive experience and strong competencies on the part of candidates. The ability to function in a rapidly changing ambiguous environment and gain support is critical. Security professionals now must be able to execute on forward-leaning security risk concepts within the organization’s cultural norms and align the program initiatives to support business objectives.
Security leaders need to be cognizant of, and comfortable with, functioning in the changing working dynamics of today’s workforce to ensure sustainability and resilience. Trends that are rapidly changing how we work, manage, lead and develop our next generation of security leaders include:
- Remote and hybrid culture is here to stay. It is convenient and it provides a vehicle to find and hire talent without geographical restrictions. It will improve diversity and inclusion and allow for reallocation of budgets to target program initiatives. Depending on the structure of the organizational leadership team, there will continue to be key roles located at or near headquarter locations. Team members working on a project or program do not need to be in or near the same physical location and can accommodate a variety of working arrangements used by the team members. This distributed working arrangement allows the selection of the right skill sets, boosts efficiency and provides development opportunities.
- Rapidly evolving technology, AI, analytical and online tools are allowing for the integration of security program objectives, integration of global team participation, improved communication, and collaboration with stakeholders. It is not to say that all security professionals must understand the technical aspects in detail. Rather, it is important for security leaders to understand how to identify what, how and where these tools can be used.
- Areas that were typically found in the security department’s accountabilities are being moved to different organizational functions for operational management. Further, the trend of decentralization, standalone business units, and more than one senior head of security in the same company will most likely continue. This offers the opportunity for the security leader to participate in the overall strategy and governance. Where programs such as business continuity management (BCM), investigations and physical security reside in an organization does not diminish the interdependence of proactive security risk mitigation through participation and influencing.
- The clear majority of those who have corporate security careers come from or have worked in public sector law enforcement and/or intelligence. This will continue, as the need to hire experienced executive level talent for roles is a primary factor and often an immediate need. While there are some good examples of in-house development of future security leaders, most organizations do not have the staff and budget to support a long-term sustainable strategy. There is still a noticeably clear trend of people leaving a company to advance their career.
The security profession has and will continue to develop to address increasing levels of risk and threats to organizations. To be successful, security professionals need to view and manage their careers in an asymmetrical manner.
Security leaders must stay abreast of changing social behaviors, activities and threats and work effectively outside of their comfort zone. Development of stakeholder relationships outside of security while developing an understanding of client-facing challenges will help drive career success.