Have you noticed the changes in the standard and quality of guards today?. Is it an employee or employer driven market?. Are you experiencing difficulty finding the right person for that position?, Do they have the right temperament and communication skills?.  Do you find that there is a shrinking pool of licenced security guards making short term choices?.  Why are there less available guards today?

There are various reasons for the decrease. To begin with, legislation introduced through the Security Industry Act 1997 and Security Industry Regulation 2007 was designed with clear intentions of increasing the competency, integrity and accountability of security officers and, thus, made it more difficult for a license to be obtained. Career development and opportunities for full time employment became evident however in areas of casual employment, especially in crowd control, the costs became prohibitive. People seeking secondary employment looked at more low entry cost and expedient employment options.


Another reason for the decrease in numbers in crowd control, is the high rate of officer burn-out. Crowd controller’s work in an environment where conflict is experienced more frequently than other areas of security and as crowd controllers are typically young people aged 20 to 35 who may have a more difficult time coping with these physical and emotional stresses, guard retention has suffered throughout the industry.

How has this impacted venue operations?

The legislation introduced by the NSW Government over the last 12 years has not only made it tougher for security staff to be licensed, but it has also increased the burden of compliance on venue owners and operators. Due to this increasing civil and criminal liability, the onus is on operators to maintain compliant venues and, as such, the employment of quality security staff is essential.

While the licensing regulations theoretically provide for more competent staff, the fact is that most of the training required to produce effective security staff occurs on the job. Becoming a quality security officer takes time and experience, and these are things that cannot be gained with so many officers leaving due to physical and emotional stresses.

What are the remedies?

It’s not difficult to find licensed security staff, but it certainly is difficult to find quality security staff. Due to the importance of experience in establishing this quality, retention is the most important issue that needs to be addressed.

From a venue perspective, the keys to improving security officer retention include:

Support: Employees must feel they are being treated fairly and equitably. Acknowledging their level of contribution and rewarding staff for their commitment, and their initiative will add greatly to individual and team morale. Additionally, managers must learn to recognise signs of employee burn-out and take steps to treat this immediately.

Award Wages: Regardless of your expectation of the security employee or contractor, the quality of the guard you receive will reflect on what you are prepared to pay. In a shrinking market of “Quality” guards it is important to ensure that your staff are paid accordingly. Details of the Award for the Security Services Industry Award 2010 is available from Fair Work Australia at

Flexibility: The concept of “Consultative management” is more relevant in today’s employee market than ever before. Organisations who establish value in their employees and are able to provide the flexibility of employment/roster and other employee choices will continue to get a greater level of commitment from their staff.

Employees do have clear options in the current business environment and it is the employer/organization that continues to invest into their workforce and fosters a level of excellence to ensure greater levels of staff satisfaction and retention.

Opportunity given, your staff can be your greatest asset.

For more information about Manpower Management, Guard Services or Guard Retention, check out Allied Risk Manpower Management Services.

For an obligation free review of your security management program please contact Sam Ekinci by email  or call 02 9635 0477.

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