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Today is International Women’s Day, so we thought this would be a great opportunity to celebrate our women and share their experiences being a female in the security industry. Read their stories below:
Marilyn Place, Northern Regional Manager based in Hamilton
My job involves overseeing Armourguard’s Northland, Waikato and Bay of Plenty businesses, and supporting managers in their operations and sales roles. I have come a long way since starting in a human resources and training job at Armourguard 23 years ago. Over the years I moved up the ladder, firstly managing a small department in Auckland before moving to Hamilton to run Armourguard’s branch there. I then stepped up to take on the Wellington Branch Manager’s role, which gave me the necessary experience and skills for my current Northern Regional Manager role.
The security industry has changed a lot over the years and that has worked to women’s advantage. It was a much tougher environment in the 2000s because the focus at that time was on brawn rather than brains. Unsurprisingly, very few women worked in frontline security roles at that time. But that has changed with Armourguard’s move to a far more ambassadorial, customer-focused approach. These days, most clients don’t want a heavy standing at the door. Instead, they want friendly, caring guards who make the visitors’ experiences as pleasant as they can be, so that they will return. This suits women well, which has encouraged more of them to work in the security field. What’s more, we are an equal opportunities employer, which means security people are paid the same no matter what their gender is, and all have the same training and career development opportunities.
Ultimately there’s something for everyone no matter who they may be and what they may want from their security career. There are development opportunities for those who would like to stretch themselves. But by the same token, there are also quieter, behind the scenes roles for those who want to do a great job without the pressure of dealing with the public or growing their career.
Fleur Murdoch, Guard Operations Support (Christchurch)
I started as a guard in 2018 and not long after that got brought in to train as a supervisor. Before I knew it, the roster person left so I started taking care of that as well, then was trained for payroll. These days I also help with recruitment, liaise with freedom campers and fill in for static guard and patrol work where needed. When I started doing the roster I was quite daunted by it because at the time we had some big, complex contracts and I never thought I’d be able to organise it all. But I did and it showed me the value of keeping an open mind and how a job isn’t always as scary as you think.
A lot of women are put off applying for security work, maybe because they don’t know that they are capable of doing it, or maybe they don’t feel safe. In my experience, people probably respond better to female security officers than they do with males. For example, I’ve visited gang houses when noise complaints have been made and have found I often get a lot of respect simply because I’m a woman who has the courage to knock on their door.
I would encourage more women to work in security and encourage them to keep an open mind because it isn’t as scary as you might think it is. If you show people respect then they will show it back to you. What’s more, as I have found, there’s room to grow. So much so, that I am currently training to do my NZQA Level 3 security certificate and am also doing assessor training for that qualification.
Pritika Naidu, Human Resources Manager (Head office)
My job as Armourguard’s Human Resources (HR) manager involves providing employment relations advice and support to the senior leadership team and regional managers. I have held three roles since starting here in September 2017. I originally started as the Health & Safety advisor, and last year was promoted to HR Manager. In some ways my story is the story of women in the security industry because there are plenty of opportunities for career advancement in a big company like Armourguard.
Not only are more and more women are coming into security, but the training and career opportunities helps to give others the confidence to also work in this field. As a result, I have noticed more women in senior leadership, regional management and operational management roles across the company in both Security and Cash.
Even though the nature of the industry means there always will be more males than females, I have never experienced any downsides of being in a predominantly male workforce. In fact, it’s a bonus to be working with such a diverse bunch of people from different age groups, cultures and experiences.