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Meeting Future Workforce Needs

This summer, the ASIS Foundation, in collaboration with University of Phoenix, convened a national roundtable to identify the top security risks the U.S. security industry will face in the next five years. In addition, the necessary competencies for security professionals to succeed in the future threat environment were examined. A key finding in their recently released report, Enterprise Security Risks and Workforce Competencies (PDF), addressed skills gaps in the security industry, underscoring the need for security professionals to possess a strong business foundation in order to link security goals with overall corporate strategies and to position security as a facilitator across business functions.

The report goes on to note that “education for security professionals must also include experiential learning and critical thinking components that allow learners to practice skills under a variety of conditions and apply their learning to solve complex problems. Mentoring and internships can help provide practical and cultural experience, and certification programs can train for role-specific competencies.”

This report outlines areas of growth, potential obstacles, and required skill sets. However, its importance goes beyond its conclusions. Not only does it lay out the challenges and opportunities ahead, its findings illustrate that our work at ASIS is on the right track. 

For example, in line with this report’s findings, this past year our Women in Security Group launched a mentorship program and our Leadership and Management Practices Council began a pilot mentorship program in several chapters. We provide the industry’s best, most trusted certifications and are preparing to launch new certificate programs. And, in partnership with American Military University, we are launching a new graduate certificate program focused on business management skills for security professionals. For those thinking of a security career, our Academic and Training Programs Council released its updated Career Opportunities in Security (PDF), which serves as a primer for students and individuals considering entering the security profession. This practical handbook provides an overview of various security disciplines, as well as security specialty areas, with descriptions of duties and generally required skillsets and experience.

The report also states, “protecting physical property from natural disasters or crimes such as theft, break-ins, and fraud has been a historical concern, but in the information age, security personnel’s responsibilities have broadened to include cybersecurity—the protection of digital communications, information, data systems, financial transactions, intellectual property, and much more.”

Our continued partnership with (ISC) 2 resulted in expanded joint educational offerings at this year’s Seminar and Exhibits, as well as greater networking and collaboration between our membership bodies. This type of relationship building is critical and ASIS will continue to partner with relevant organizations to ensure members have access to the network and resources needed to deliver comprehensive risk management solutions.

As for ensuring members have the right skill sets, this past August, ASIS hosted a free “Future Proof Your Career” webinar that provided attendees with practical advice to make sure they are positioned for future jobs. The ASIS Career Center also provides career development resources, including professional development columns, ‘ask the expert’ advice, leadership profiles, and the most comprehensive listing of security management jobs available.

In addition, through the good work of the ASIS Foundation and our worldwide network of chapters, we provide awards and scholarships (PDF)for members worldwide to achieve their academic and professional goals. 

As the report makes clear, our profession will require increasing amounts of ingenuity, flexibility, and efficiency. As president, I am committed to ensuring ASIS delivers the information, resources, and professional network needed to meet the security challenges of today—and tomorrow.