Overcoming the UK security professional shortage means raising awareness on how important diversity is. More than making sure every gender, cultural background and age range feels welcome, it’s also about celebrating neurodiversity in security.
In times now gladly behind us as a society, anyone who wasn’t ‘neurotypical’ was pressured to conform. There was always only one way of seeing things, saying things, and doing things.
More and more, that attitude is going away nowadays, and the world of work is a better place for it. However, there’s still a lot of room for neurodiversity in security to bring fresh perspectives, talents and abilities to our industry, and seeing this happen is inspiring stuff!
Understanding how neurodiversity works
Neurodiversity is the word used to describe how conditions such as ADHD, Tourette’s Syndrome, Asperger’s and dyslexia are natural ways for people to be. In the past, these were labelled as things someone needed to ‘fix’ to match neurotypical people. Nowadays, that’s no longer the view.
Unfortunately, that doesn’t always means companies have done the best job in making their businesses welcoming to neurodiverse people.
You can label your job posts “equal opportunities employer” all you want – companies who try and force people to work a certain way simply aren’t living up to that promise. That’s before you think about all the companies who say they’re equal opportunities employers, but who actually purposefully gloss over neurodiverse job candidates.
It’s a problem, but it’s a challenge that lots of admirable organisations are working to overcome. Companies are recognising that neurodiversity gives their teams more perspectives and abilities than ever before. Better still, those companies who do invest in neurodiverse people don’t just tick boxes for equality. In fact, it often leads to more productivity for the business too!
How neurodiversity in security helps professionals to better protect
A healthy way for us all to see neurodiversity is that it’s another perspective on the world. As you can imagine, security is one industry where these varied perspectives are massively useful.
Take a look at our allies in the cybersecurity sector. There’s growing appreciation for neurodiversity in that industry. Often, it’s personality traits like hyperfocus, high attention to detail and an ability to see what other people don’t that proves such an advantage for neurodiversity in security.
As for neurodiversity in physical security work? Well… just ask Martin!
Martin works in airport security in Copenhagen Airport in Denmark. He handles specialised security work with passengers’ luggage, where his strong attention to detail gives him insight into things many neurotypical security professionals would miss.
We at Get Licensed love Martin’s success story, and the fact that he was empowered with the help of Specialisterne to get a job he loves. Of course, this is in Denmark, so it’s likely to be a different environment for neurodiverse SIA Licence holders in the UK.
Yet the advantages that different perspectives and ways of thinking bring to security work can’t be ignored. With demand in the security sector so high, now’s the best time to bring more diversity into the workforce.
Which security jobs are best for neurodiverse people?
The short answer is that all kinds of security work are suitable for all kinds of people, however they identify. That’s because the security industry overall is so much more varied than many people discovering it for the first time might think.
However, neurodiversity in security work shows its advantages when an individual person puts their unique strengths to good use. For example, Martin’s story in Copenhagen worked because his employer knew his eye for detail and hyperfocus would perfectly suit scanning luggage all day. For other people, this kind of work would make their mind wander after a while, and they could miss a security risk. But not Martin!
This ability to hyperfocus and see details like microexpressions make many neurodiverse people excellent door supervisors. And remember, a Door Supervisor Licence isn’t just about standing at nightclub doors. It’s also a qualification to work in corporate security, all kinds of security guard roles, and all-important events protection.
Some neurodiverse people have high sensitivity to sound. While that means they’d hate working on a nightclub door, it’s likely they’d thrive as a CCTV Operator. From a secluded control room, CCTV Operators protect stores, factories, public spaces and offices.
Detail-oriented reports, sometimes that will need to be sent to the police, are a big part of this job. That makes a strong ability to focus and notice the things other people miss an absolute asset.
Taking security courses and getting licensed to work in the UK security industry opens up so many earning opportunities. People who successfully get licensed can earn up to £2,500 working full-time – and in a security industry so hungry for talent, the capabilities of neurodiverse people are an asset that shouldn’t be ignored.
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