The Safety and Security Industry: Jobs, Skills and Job Outlook
The Safety and Security industries encompass a wide range of professions responsible for protecting people and property, preventing crimes and accidents and for helping to ensure that the public feels safe.
The industry includes professions such as police officers, security guards, concierges and porters, installers of security systems and burglar alarms and workplace safety experts.
The Safety and Security industry can be broadly divided into the following subcategories:
- Surveillance and security services, including personal bodyguards, security guards working at shops, shopping centres and corporate facilities, concierges and porters, cash-in-transit security guards, customs officers and night security guards at offices, building sites and car parks
- Public and private investigation services working to solve crimes of all types, e.g. crimes against people and property, cyber attacks, tax fraud crimes etc.
- Services related to security systems, such as burglar alarms, fire alarms and other security and risk prevention systems (including industrial systems) requiring technical personnel for their installation, operation and maintenance
The Safety and Security industry also includes a nation’s armed forces, which are tasked with defending the state against external threats and supporting its interests, as well as ensuring internal security and public safety.
Training and education requirements for jobs in the security sector can vary hugely. Many vacancies require a school-leaving diploma and experience in the field while others - such as jobs in information and cyber security - may require a degree.
Often, a special licence (e.g. a firearms licence in countries where security guards are permitted to carry guns) or certification of authorization may be required to work in certain security sector professions.
What types of businesses operate in the Safety and Security industry?
Many professionals working in the safety and security industry are employed by the national police force.
However, there is also a thriving market for private security services, in which the principal recruiters include firms that provide security guard and patrol services, close protection and bodyguard services, and door supervision and security services for clubs and bars (e.g.bouncers), as well as private investigation agencies and companies specializing in the installation and maintenance of security, burglary and fire alarms in residential, commercial and industrial buildings.
Some companies have their own in-house security personnel to protect people and property. Examples include night wardens, security guards, porters and concierges employed at manufacturing facilities and industrial plants, offices, residential complexes and apartments, hotels, building sites and in bars and clubs.
Safety and risk prevention are important issues in all workplaces and especially within industrial facilities, so much so that many companies employ specialist safety supervisors and HSE Managers (Health, Safety and Environment) or else engage external consultants to monitor the safety of their production facilities and organize health monitoring and surveillance activities.
Companies hiring in the Security industry:
Security Industry - Trends and Job Outlook
Employment trends in the safety and security industry are positive. The demand for security services from both private businesses and individuals has increased and with it spending on such services. This has led to an across the board increase in job vacancies for security personnel, including bodyguards for celebrities and public figures, security workers for events, retail store detectives, concierges, porters and access control officers.
One particularly dynamic area is cyber security. The rise of the internet and web technology and the more recent development of the internet of things (IoT) has led to a significant upsurge in cyber attacks by hackers using ransomware and other types of malware.
As a result, spending on the development of tools and technologies designed to protect data, maintain information security and prevent security breaches and unauthorized accesses to information networks is increasing, meaning that career prospects for cyber security experts are excellent.
What skills are required in the Safety and Security industry?
A number of transversal skills are required in the safety and security industry, including:
Physical strength, fitness and stamina
While an appearance of physical strength may actually be more useful as a visual deterrent than anything else, security professionals still need to be in good physical shape to perform their duties effectively. Patrol or surveillance work, for example, can place a significant physical demand on security guards, who are often required to stay on their feet for hours at a time.
Legislative and regulatory knowledge
The Security sector is closely connected to the legal sector, with the line separating legal and criminal activity governed by laws and regulations that security workers need to know inside out and comply with scrupulously.
Honesty and moral integrity
In carrying out their duties to protect people and property, security sector professionals should be motivated by a sense of moral duty. Other desirable essential attributes include an alert, attentive attitude, discretion and honesty.
Sense of initiative and proactivity
Unforeseen circumstances requiring prompt intervention are a common occurrence in the security and safety sector. Candidates therefore need a strong sense of initiative and the ability to make decisions independently.