Editor, IFSEC Global

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James Moore is the Editor of IFSEC Global, the leading resource for security and fire news in the industry. James was previously Editor of Professional Heating & Plumbing Installer magazine.
November 6, 2020

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Industry reports

Outdated perceptions of security industry remain, shows Security Research Initiative report

The latest published report from the Security Research Initiative has found that the majority of people are not aware of the range of roles available in the security industry, with most of the profession ending up in the industry ‘by chance’.

‘Understanding influences on security as a career/job choice: what those working in the security sector think’ was put together with the aim to better understand what makes a career in security attractive to recruits. It also set out to understand how the sector can better improve its image and present itself as a valued contribution to working life.

The report includes fascinating insight into the profession, with snippets of interviews demonstrating the challenging, yet often rewarding environment those in the sector work in.

Key findings included:

  • Only 4% of respondents heard of work in security through a careers talk at school/college/university; the most prominent source of awareness was from a suggestion by a friend, colleague or family member (35%).
  • 78% of respondents were attracted to a career in security due to the commitment to protecting people and organisations.
  • 83% of respondents believed security is thought of as an ‘industry’ rather than a ‘profession’
  • 11% of respondents entered security to gain experience to then leave security and pursue another career; but 68% of those individuals indicated they now intend to remain in security.

The report is based on a survey and in-depth interviews with security professionals. It identifies that one of the main reasons people don’t enter a security career is because they don’t know about the vast variety of roles available, the value of the work, or the benefits to be gained. Many myths about security work also remain – not least that it is only about ‘manned guarding’ and that it is only appropriate for ex-police or ex-military personnel.

While, sadly, some frontline roles are low paid, the Security Research Initiative believes this disguises the fact that many people find commercial security work more lucrative than alternatives – something that inhibits attracting experienced workers, but also igniting the interest of those embarking on their first career steps.

Professor Martin Gill, who led the research, noted: “People don’t join the security sector because they don’t know about it. That is damning. Those who do generally reflect very positively, noting that it is varied, important and even lucrative. Our task is to ensure that this is no longer a well-kept secret.”

Challenging outdated perceptions of the sector is also something that the BSIA, Security Institute and Security Commonwealth are currently working on with their joint campaign.

The Security Research Initiative is sponsored by the security sector (buyers and suppliers) and involves an annual study. The reports are made available free of charge in order to provide a more informed information base about the workings of the security sector.

A copy of the report can be downloaded, here.

Professor Martin Gill can be contacted on: [email protected]

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