Security Sector Snapshot






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Security Sector – Snapshot


O7712 Investigation and Security Services in Australia Industry Report, Oct 2014, IBISWorld, Oct 2014

• The industry is moving away from labour-intensive guards and patrols to electronic security • Outsourcing of security services from business and government is driving demand

• Technology improvements are contributing to slow growth due to labour replacements

IBISWorld, Oct 2014

Job Roles:

Three broad service areas:

• Electronic security: closed circuit television (CCTV) and surveillance, access control, video and audio intercom systems, integrated security and fire systems, home automation, building management systems, biometrics, alarms and alarm monitoring

• Manpower/guarding: crowd control, airport security, guard services, mobile patrols, concierge duties, traffic management, emergency response, cash-in-transit services and risk assessment

• Physical/barrier security: locksmiths, perimeter fencing patrols, security grill, bollards and boom gate installation, safes installation and maintenance, and records protection

The sector also covers specialist services in investigations and risk management application


Mobile guards and patrol services


Private investigation services

Total $6.3bn

Products and services segmentation (2014-15)


Cash-in-transit and armoured

guard services


Security system monitoring services


Secure document handling and storage services


Crowd control services


Other security services


Number employed IBISWorld reports an estimated security workforce of approximately 55,700, with the DoE’s44 November 2013 figures reporting slightly higher

amount of 56,300. However the industry association ASIAL45 advises

CPSISC that there are currently approximately 110,000 licensed security personnel in Australia - a significantly higher workforce and almost double other statistics publicly available.

Low wages and often difficult working conditions lead to a very high labour turnover.

Employment in growth or decline

IBISWorld reports that industry employment is forecast to increase by an annualised 1.6% in the five years to 2019-20, with 60,200 expected employed. Growth in security guarding will result from of heightened community concern with global terrorism and increased need for public safety.

Majority employed in small / medium or large businesses

The sector includes several major companies, international enterprises, plus many smaller operators in general guarding/crowd control and investigative services.

This will only change slightly over the five years through 2019-20, with consolidation continuing through the largest players acquiring smaller ones to provide niche services, as well as to grow revenue and profit margins. The industry will remain highly fragmented, particularly in areas such as private investigators.

Majority employed in regional and remote or urban areas

The large corporate sector (offices, retail and other industries) is the major market for investigation and security services - such as security monitoring, guard patrols, armoured guards and crowd control. This suggests the majority of these businesses are in cities and urban areas. As business activity and population is more concentrated in the eastern seaboard states, in 2014-15, NSW, VIC and QLD are estimated to account for 81.8% of industry establishments, and together these three states account for 78.8% of industry revenue. This is due to higher population and business numbers, a higher incidence of crime, surveillance and monitoring services provided in-home to households and businesses.

Many national operators service the administrative needs of their clients’ contracts through their head offices in the eastern states. Proportion male to female


Most security officers and guards are male. The DoE records 63.8% male full-time workers, and only 8.8% female full-time workers. 20.0% of the sector are male part-time workers and 7.4% are female part-time workers.


Strategies to encourage female workforce participation

ASIAL advise that larger security employers are compliant with the Workplace Gender Equality Act 2012 and focus on supporting women in the organisation through management and mentoring. Security is a dynamic and challenging industry where customer service is highly valued. ASIAL informs CPSISC that interpersonal skills in dealing with difficult people in challenging situations are highly valued, so that potentially volatile circumstances presented in security work can be circumvented with a rational and calm manner. A number of companies aim to increase the number of women working in the organisation during 2015-2018, with a focus on gender equality in senior management positions.

The graph shows the share of employment (%) for males and females, employed full and part-time, compared with all occupations. Source: ABS Labour Force Survey, annual average 2013. Estimates have been rounded and consequently some discrepancies may occur between sums of the component items and totals.

Proportion full-time to part-time workers

72.6% of security officers and guards work full-time. Average weekly hours for full-time workers are 40.5 (compared to 41.1 for all occupations).

Proportion of industry that have completed Certificate III or IV

The most common level of educational attainment is Certificate III / IV (25.0%). In many states and territories, licensing requires a Certificate II level as an entry requirement.

70 60 50 40 30 20 10 0 Males FT %

Males PT Female FT Female PT 63.8 20.0 8.8 7.4 45.1 9.1 24.8 21.0 Gender (% share)

Security Officers and Guards All Occupations


The graph shows the highest educational attainment (% share of employment) for this occupation compared with all occupations. Source: ABS 2013 Survey of Education and Work (SEW). The measure of overall educational attainment is the ABS ‘HEAP’ variable, which regards successful completion of Years 12, 11 or 10 of school as a higher attainment than a Certificate II coupled with any lower level of schooling. Estimates have been rounded and consequently some discrepancies may occur between sums of the component items and totals.

Current economic

impediments for this industry

Security guarding is highly labour intensive and is requiring more expenditure on supporting technology. ASIAL advise that a lower Australian dollar will increase prices on any imported technology but could be offset by lower interest rates influencing capital expenditure for projects and increasing employment prospects.

Key external drivers that promote industry performance include: • Level of criminal activity – actual and perceived increases in crime

typically lead to an increase in demand for security services • Number of businesses – most businesses require some type of

security system or service

• Demand from general insurance – upgrades to security systems as part of policy renewal processes

• Population – growth in population leads to greater demands for security

Licensing and regulation This industry is heavily regulated, and the trend of regulation is


ASIAL provides certification of compliance for members’ to Australian standards – such as alarm monitoring centres47.

Security Officers and Guards All Occupations Educational attainment (% of employment)

30 25 20 15 10 5 0 Post Graduate/ Graduate Diploma or Graduate Certificate

Bachelor Degree Advanced

Diploma/Diploma Certificater III/IV Year 12 Year 11 and 10 Below Year 10

% 6.6 9.0 10.9 19.6 14.4 10.5 25.0 20.9 22.3 19.5 16.3 16.5 4.5 4.0


Impact of globalisation Global events that have posed a public threat to security have reinforced consumers’ needs and focus on security. Security threats around the world such as recent events in Sydney, Canada and France have raised this awareness. Policies on border protection have also impacted the industry’s scope.

The security industry has a medium globalisation level with few major Australian-owned players having significant foreign operations, and are predicting an expansion of their services internationally, in existing local markets and other countries in the Asia-Pacific region.

There are several major foreign companies in the industry, and globalisation will increase, particularly from the expansion of existing foreign operators in Australia.

There is a high degree of foreign ownership of the major companies in this industry, mostly through foreign acquisition of local companies.

Impact from technology • Technical security is the fastest growing area and reducing the heavy

reliance on labour, introducing higher tech electrical alarm systems and the provision of security monitoring services

• High-tech surveillance and data delivery tools will be at the front line of security and investigative services over the next five years, with more private and public places to be subject to electronic surveillance, and households, businesses and governments seeking greater security and protection

• The strong trend toward electronic security services includes sophisticated techniques in the biometrics area, radio frequency ID (tagging) and RFID3 chip technology for controlling access to premises plus wireless home security systems. CCTV mesh networks that cover very large areas with seamless surveillance are part of the latest technology developments

• New technology (e.g. optical fibre networks) will enable effective and cheap electronic security monitoring services for commercial, industrial and domestic premises, which could lead the industry into a stronger growth phase

• GPS tracking of goods is integrating with security and will require more highly specialist technicians and equipment operators - impacting on new entrants and current workers needing upskilling • Biometrics is a relatively new area within VET for this industry, being

the study of the physical characteristics of a person to ultimately distinguish one person exclusively from all others

Ageing workforce concerns The main age group is 25-34 years (23.8%) and the median age is 41

years (compared to 40 years for all occupations). Impact from population

growth and / or demographics

Economic opportunities to supply services to a larger market would be advantageous and allow companies to resource plan for the future. Population growth will provide industry employment opportunities, and migrant workers and mature age workers would be a key source for employment.


Strategies to encourage Indigenous Australian workforce participation

There is a need to develop a strategic approach to encourage a higher percentage of Indigenous Australian employment and training for this sector, through the development of an industry specific approach. Industry players need in some cases to establish or maintain stronger partnerships with agencies supporting and connecting Indigenous Australian jobseekers. Increased assistance is needed for the provision of quality advice to security industry stakeholders on Indigenous Australian cross cultural requirements that impact on the workplace, particularly in the private sector, and further work needs to be done in promoting employment in this sector, such as participation in Indigenous Australian mentoring program to support retention and career progression.

Changing profile of the learner at work

ASIAL suggests that there are opportunities for upskilling workers as the industry’s skill needs change, particularly in the technology realm. Access and equity is a necessary consideration in offering employment opportunities to people from all walks of life, and promotion of this in the recruitment and support of workers is important. The provision of meaningful opportunities to break the cycle of unemployment through this industry is encouraged by the industry association and training and employment support for such new entrants often from a disadvantaged background is advocated.

Key initiatives suggested to help security businesses with their training needs include:

• Targeted assistance and guidance on accredited programs • Development of client specific or site specific training to meet a

client’s need or contractual requirement

• Coordinating training programs on behalf of the business

Current and emerging skill gaps Keeping up to date with emerging technologies and their skill

requirements is a core challenge to maintain the capabilities of the security industry’s workforce. ASIAL advises that LLN support is a constant requirement. New entrants from ESL48 backgrounds need to

be competitive in obtaining employment opportunities, particularly in the high consumer contact area in the provision of crowd control and guarding services, and LLN skills are often a barrier.


Ways to boost skill levels to meet any skill shortages

The Certificate II in Security Operations is required to commence work in the industry and RTOs need to provide the training that meets each state or territory’s licensing requirements for security officers. This is consequently the compulsory VET pathway to work in this sector. ASIAL suggests that skill shortages (in technology, for example) can be boosted through a supported career pathway aligned to nationally accredited training. Improved skills in stakeholder engagement and customer service require a workplace culture change in some companies, and performance management processes are needed in businesses to provide targets and measurement of performance.

Workforce priorities Recruiting and retaining suitably skilled, reliable security staff is

important for security companies to provide high service levels to clients, and can lead to contract wins and growth in repeat business. This means that the overall workforce capabilities of the security industry are an important link to its productivity.

Anecdotal notes on workforce development needs

• Licensees are struggling to keep up with legislative changes e.g. bikie laws in QLD, lock out laws, and one-punch laws. A significant increase in responsibility for crowd controllers and recent election upsets may lead to further legislative changes. Licences can be suspended based on a criminal charge only, without necessarily being found guilty or convicted

• Fines have increased significantly due to lack of substantial training e.g. online courses

• ID scans will be introduced in QLD for patrons entering venues after 10pm which will raise costs

• On 20 January 2015 ASIO raised the terrorism level threat for police from medium to high. This follows the National Terrorism Alert Level being raised from medium to high in September 2014. Review of security arrangements in the private security sector may be necessary, especially for crowd controllers and security in public arenas