Ethnic and gender diversity in loss prevention has been a topic of conversation in our industry for certainly the three decades I’ve been involved in LP. Given the dominate white, male demographics of retail security through most of the twentieth century, it’s no wonder that industry leaders have actively put programs in place to recruit a more diverse, professional, asset protection team.
When this magazine launched in 2001, diversity was a topic we wanted to cover. In fact, diversity was the feature article in our fourth issue in May-June 2002 and one of our most popular covers. We also found Mimi Welch, a writer with roots in retail human resources and training, who agreed to write an ongoing column on Women in LP that evolved into Diversity in LP that ran for the first four years of our publication.
Over the past several years, the LPM team has continued our internal discussion about diversity and women in the industry. The topic was often one that we discussed at our annual editorial board meetings as well. Late last year, we decided to move forward with a survey of women in LP. Jacque Brittain, LPC, the magazine’s editorial director and someone with an extensive recruiting, education, and writing background, volunteered to lead the effort. The feature article summarizes the results of this effort.
Whenever one begins a survey project of this type, you never know how it will be received. In this case from the beginning, the reception from the industry was, frankly, overwhelming. We started by contacting female leaders in the industry to discuss the project and develop the questionnaire. What started with a few conversations snowballed into ultimately twenty LP executives-some of whom included others on their team-who provided input into what topics to include in the survey.
After many weeks of development, the end result was a fifty-question survey that was promoted to the industry from January 5 to February 5, 2018. Considering the survey took approximately twenty minutes to complete, we were unsure how many women would take the time to complete the questionnaire. To our delight, we had 500 busy, female loss prevention professionals answer the survey. By any standard, that is a very strong response and further evidence that the topic had an enthusiastic audience in our industry.
The magazine wishes to thank the executives who took ownership in driving this project, as well as the LP leadership at the Retail Industry Leaders Association, National Retail Federation, and NRF’s Women in LP council. Their support and promotion of the survey to their teams helped make this project a success.
Apart from this feature article that summarizes the results, what should the response to this survey achieve? Our hope all along was not just to gauge the attitudes of females working in our industry but also start an in-depth conversation about those positive and negative issues women encounter in the workplace. This first article is just the starting point.
A second article will appear in our upcoming July-August issue that will focus on industry reaction to the survey results from both male and female LP professionals. While we chose to work with female leadership during the development of this project, it should be understood that many male LP executives were aware and equally supportive of this initiative. As it should be.
A detailed survey report is available for download (“The Women of Loss Prevention: Survey Results Reveal How Women View Their Current Roles in the Industry“). Anyone interested in reading the report is welcome to download the document. We hope you not only find the opinions expressed in this survey interesting but also fodder for internal discussions that result in a better connected, more diverse asset protection team.
We want to hear your opinions of the survey results and, especially, any thoughts or changes that come from your internal discussions. If you would like to contribute your voice to the upcoming article, please reach out to Jac at JacB [at] LPportal.com.