Today’s security professionals face a multiplication of career opportunities as the extra value that security adds becomes more widely recognized. But faced with such choice, how should a security guard select the right company to work for?
As a security professional, opportunities are plentiful. This means that you have choices to make, and before you chose where to make a difference, you have your homework to do. Once done, and done right, you’ll be able to seize the opportunity to contribute and grow.
We can be fairly confident about the strength of the market considering that, globally, demand for security services is forecast to increase by 6.9 percent annually to USD 267 billion in 2018. With approximately USD 150 billion of the market made up of traditional, manned guarding services, frontline roles are still plentiful. (both figures quoted from Freedonia World Report).
Security as a value adder
The threat environment we inhabit has evolved and changed. Security can no longer be an afterthought, and for quality security programs to be deployed, organizations need quality frontline staff. Security’s profile has increased over the last few years from a provider of night watchmen, guns (Mark is from Canada…. Ed.), gates and guards, to fully professionalized, data-driven, technology-enabled businesses offering value-added services. Today’s security services are built on detailed, data-rich service level agreements and deliver measurable results. (confirmed by an internal survey done of security managers where 93% of respondents said they wanted to be able to measure security’s ROI).
The evolution of security has swept the industry – from the security service provider side to the end user, or security consumer, side, and the business community has taken notice. The narrative is reflected in mainstream security media with Security Magazine highlighting that: “Consolidation, technology, training and partnerships are among the watchwords for security officer firms and their clients.”
While opportunities in today’s environment abound, the competition is fierce and as Security Magazine explains: “the ‘new security company’ must adapt to changing customer requirements, demographic developments and technological advances if it wants to remain successful in the market.”
The maturity of certain security markets such as, Canada the United States, the United Kingdom and parts of Western Europe, creates opportunities for frontline professionals working for companies seeking to differentiate on more than price.
Choosing the right security employer
When it comes to work, companies choose you, but you also choose who to deliver services for. The following points are food for thought when planning your career steps. This isn’t an exhaustive list, but considering these questions can help guide you when it comes to selecting the right security company:
|Business planning||Does the company have a plan? Does it show?|
|Security service offering||Is the firm you are evaluating a jack of all trades? What do they offer? What sort of work do they chase? This will determine the kind of work you do – think career progression.|
|Service delivery||Security is a ‘peace of mind’ business. Clients hire a security firm that can consistently deliver a safe and secure environment but that can also handle things if something goes wrong. If there has been ‘bad’ news then how was it handled – according to protocol?|
|Training and development||Certain firms spend more on training and it’s often a sign of success when they do. The efficient ones can afford to and those that are not, should!|
|Talent retention||You know your worth and how to deliver, but it’s important to see how potential employers recognize and reward good work to cut staff turnover and deliver quality services. When turnover is high, it’s often a sign of
a deeper problem. Be mindful of companies with a ‘revolving door’.
|Getting paperwork right first time||Paperwork is important in a compliance-driven sector such as security – and also key to you getting paid on time, and correctly! How does the company you are considering handle documentation? Dated practices, or data-driven technology?|
|Aligning security service KPIs with a customer’s business goals||ASIS International champions the value of Enterprise Security Risk Management (ESRM). The very best firms are embracing this and aligning service delivery to business goals.|
Joining an industry leader
In a competitive market, you want to join a winning team. Security companies that want to grow and excel need to differentiate themselves and stand out as leaders in the industry. Consider these points when looking for differentiators:
|Who runs the place and what is their management style? Are they someone you
will have contact with? What is their stance on security issues, labour, training and development etc? How involved are they in the industry, what are their credentials, training, etc?
|Licensing and permits||Developed security markets typically have mandatory licensing – make sure that the company you chose is properly licensed and is in good standing.|
|Memberships||What associations is management part of? Is it only senior management or is the frontline encouraged to be involved? Consider The Security Institute, ASIS International, BSIA, or The Security Industry Authority.|
|What sort of schemes or credentials does the company hold. Are they part of the Accredited Contractor Scheme (ACS) for instance?|
There are many good security service providers in the market today. You need to choose one that fits your definition of what good looks like, and meets your aspirations. Your hands-on experience qualifies you to contribute in your unique way. Ultimately, you should choose a company that values you and understands how to properly utilize your skills. This way, you can build a career based on mutual respect, and reap the rewards of being part of a booming industry.
As a frontline security professional, your choices can help push the boundaries of security, and challenge perceptions of the value that security services can bring. Don’t settle for the status quo – rather, focus on forward-looking, proactive service providers.
The result of an industry focused on adding value is that your skills and experience will in turn accrue value, leading to a rewarding career.
ABout Mark Folmer, CPP, MSyI
Vice President, Security Industry
Mark was named to the prestigious IFSEC Global influencers list in 2018: “Security Thought Leadership”.
A world renown data-driven Operations & Security leadership expert, he is based in Canada and is the Vice President, Security, for TrackTic, a cutting edge, workforce management platform. Mark is also a lecturer and commentator on global security issues.