This week I have seen 3 job advertisements and one request for tender related to the security industry which made my blood boil. My problem wasn’t the fact that the jobs were advertised or even the places where they were. My problem was the job description. They want a security/ some other random position for next to no money this gets on my nerves and I really think that anybody who does the job does the industry no service at at all.
The job adverts
I’m paraphrasing here but you will get the idea.
1. Local council who require a cleaner who will also provide a ‘passive ‘ security role in the premises when staff are not there and on evenings and weekends.
2. Shopping centre who require security staff. Role includes patrolling and all of the usual security functions plus emptying bins, cleaning floors at the start and end of the shift and general housekeeping duties.
3. Retail security. Job roles includes access control, customer service, dealing with theft etc. Where the shop is busy the security member will also be expected to serve on the till and replenish shelves.
I hope you can see why I have issues with all of these.
I’m a big fan of security companies and professionals to add value to their role. I have no issue with security staff who assist with customer care or give a hand to staff in tidying up at the end of a shift but these jobs above are blurring the lines between adding value and doing two jobs for the price of one.
Nobody benefits from roles like this in the long term. Sure the employer sees a cost saving in wages but the reality is if you hire a cleaner/security then neither job gets done correctly. Eventually it comes back and bites you with an incident or claim and you will lose out in the long term. It also does the development prospect of the security person no favours. When the ‘tell us what you did in your last job’ comes up at interview.
The sad and frustrating thing is that these jobs will be filled. Either by an individual or by a company willing to do this job. Somebody will do it to get a start in the job not realising that they devalue themselves and the whole industry.
The public will see them in their security inform with their shiny licence on their arm and will form the perception that security are there to change the bins and stack the shelves. No I’m not saying that there is anything wrong with being a cleaner or stacking shelves in a shop. I know great people who do both. All I am saying is that they aren’t security. Security doing them hurts the security industry and hurts the person who now can’t get a job as a cleaner because the security guard is doing it.
The short term solution is easy. Don’t take these jobs. Tell your mates not to take them and make it known (as I have) on the applications that the industry isn’t happy with these jobs.
Long term it requires influence from both regulators and the insurance industry both of which I will be lobbying for. When the PSA 28:2013 standard comes up for review a simple section which says that a security person shall be tasked with security duties only and the same person may not cover non security roles or tasks within the premises. That solves the contract companies issue.
For in house security it comes down to insurers stating the same thing on polices. Where security is employed it must be employed solely for the purpose of providing a security service.
Both of these points I will be lobbying for in the coming months.
The reality is that the security industry wants to be seen as a profession without acting like a profession sometimes. If there is enough of a risk present to hire a security person then there is enough of a risk there to hire one full time. If we want to be viewed as a profession then we need to act like it. Please don’t accept these jobs. There are plenty more out there for everybody.