Vijayah Sigamani was asked to join her father’s business as a fresh graduate. Now she is taking the security company from strength to strength
10/3/2017 6:03:26 PM
|written By : Nithya Subramanian|
Breaking stereotypes is not unusual for Vijayah Sigamani. Tall anddelicate, it would be hard for anyone to imagine that she works in the business of providing security services. But she always took responsibility for her younger siblings, and so impressed was she by her father’s demeanour that she harboured ambitions of joining the police force. Eventually, after graduation, she joined her father’s business and is today Director at Royal Security Management Services.
But her path to success has not come easy. While she was attaining professional success, personal tragedy struck Vijayah. Her husband met with a fatal accident a few years ago, leaving her and their then four-year- old son alone. She had to deal with not just sorrow but also financial woes. But her passion for work and positive attitude enabled her to come out of this low phase of her life. Today the 45-year-old, is leading her company to greater heights.
Here are excerpts of an exclusive interview with Vijayah Sigamani.
India Se: Could you tell us a little about your background, education and childhood?
Vijayah Sigamani: I come from a family of five -- I have a brother and a sister. We were quite close-knit. I studied in neighbourhood schools and got a degree from SIM. I graduated with a degree in BSC Management (Honours) becoming the first woman graduate in my family.
India Se: What prompted you to join your father’s business – Royal Security Management Pte Ltd?
Vijayah Sigamani: I was asked to join my dad’s business the moment I graduated from SIM. It was never my intention to do so, but due to my father’s poor health, I decided to try it out and see if it wored for me. I had difficulty coping with my job for the first three months, but after that, once I took ownership of my decision, there was no turning back for me.
India Se: Are your other siblings also involved in the business and how does it feel working with family members? Do you clash often?
Vijayah Sigamani: My brother, Steve Saravanan, and I have been running this business for several years now. As children, we used to fight a lot, but once we were in the business together we mended our ways and stayed together providing support to each other. Give and take is the way of handling our busines. Our disagreements on certain business decisions always lead to positive outcomes in the end.
India Se: What are some of the challenges that you face in the security business?
Vijayah Sigamani: Manpower shortage is the biggest problem in our industry, especially when it comes to finding the right officer for the right premises.
India Se: The food and beverage industry has difficulty find manpower. Is there such a problem in your business, too? Do Singaporeans come forward to take up this job?
Vijayah Sigamani: We are only allowed to mostly hire Singaporeans and a small percentage of Malaysians to work for us as security officers. But finding locals is quite tough as Singaporeans tend to shy away from this job due to the long working hours.
India Se: What kind of training is provided to freshers joining your company? Also, is there any special training given to women security personnel as they could be more vulnerable than men when it comes to performing night duties etc?
Vijayah Sigamani: Freshers have to go through two security courses to be qualified as security officers. We have to keep sending them for various security courses on yearly basics for them to know all aspects of security matters. Both men and women are sent for the same courses. We will not deploy women officers at those factories for night shifts where there is not much of human movement. Commercial and residential complexes and hotels are very much safer for our women officers to perform their duties at night.