Safe and secure, and so is the job
Jobseekers can secure a future in this growing industry, writes Cara Jenkin
WORKERS can earn high hourly rates and pick their hours – without having finished high school – in a field that is increasingly looking for staff who do not match the stereotype.
The security industry often is associated with providing work for big burly blokes but it is workers of all sizes, ages and genders that are sought to fill increasing vacancies.
National security industry employment has grown by 29 per cent, or 14,000 jobs, in the past five years to peak at 62,500 workers this year, ABS figures show.
Part-time jobs have increased the most in the past decade, with a 48 per cent rise in jobs. About one in four jobs are part time. Average weekly earnings are $1044, while shift rates start at $18 an hour.
More experienced staff can receive up to $35 an hour.
International Security Training Academy chief executive and founder Tim Sell says wages can be much greater, depending on when and for what the worker is required, such as $65 an hour on Sundays. He says the industry operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week, meaning the hours and work are available to suit any worker’s needs.
Security work spikes when violence or crime occurs in a community but there is much more to the job than asset protection – meaning a plethora of jobs for workers, says Sell.
“For example after September 11, the security industry tripled throughout Australia and that was overnight,” he says.
“It stayed that way for six to 12 months. In Melbourne, for example, with its entertainment industry, things like the Grand Prix, tennis, football, soccer and so on, international events come here on a regular basis and there’s always work available for these events when required.
“We also have airports and shopping centres, which are always looking for security officers. One of the biggest benefits about getting into the industry is there’s always work available.” Sell says work also has been created in the past 20 years through the privatisation of security services by governments, away from the police and military, in part largely because of improved training and the clearances workers receive to be employed. Work is varied. One day they may be working at a sporting event, the next a magistrates court.
“They have to be 18 years of age, then they can do the course, get their fingerprints taken, a criminal record check done and then they get their licence once they’ve completed the course,” Sell says. “Any person can do that.” Men make up 86 per cent of the workforce and are more likely to have physical tasks and be more comfortable working on patrol at night.
But women are sought after too because they tend to have greater attention to detail and better observation, efficiency and communication skills.
“Most security work is not about the physical ability, it’s about day-to-day activities – helping people, customer service, resolving problems, resolving conflict and basically looking after the property of large corporate buildings,” Sell says. Meanwhile, behind the front line there’s also an