Amid headlines about hiring freezes and job cuts, the British security industry is bucking the trend. New figures published by the British Security Industry Association (BSIA), which represents the UK’s private security firms, indicate that the sector is booming, with businesses recruiting an estimated 65,000 new security specialists over the last six months as demand for their services grows.
A survey of BSIA members suggests security businesses have increased the size of their workforces by almost a fifth (16 per cent) since July 2022, as the industry gets to grips with new legislation and prepares for the return of major events and festivals in 2023.
A national recruitment initiative, ‘People, Property, Places: Professionally Protected’, launched by the BSIA in 2022 focused on improving perceptions of a career in the industry and raising awareness of the crucial work security officers do.
Contrary to the traditional image of a security officer, data from the industry’s regulator, the Security Industry Authority (SIA), suggests that young people and women are two important groups contributing to the industry’s growth. The SIA is responsible for granting licences for frontline security personnel in the industry.
In the twelve months to March 2023, the biggest increase in the licensed security officer population was in the 18-25 age bracket with a 14% increase. Over the same period there was a 6% increase in licenced female security officers, double the 3% increase in licenced male officers.
The increasing demand for private security services follows the Government’s Protect Duty consultation, launched in the wake of the Manchester Arena terrorist bombing in 2017, which creates a legal requirement for organisations to provide proportionate security measures.
Mike Reddington, Chief Executive at the BSIA, comments: “The recruitment of new security officers is essential for ensuring public safety – and it’s heartening to see security booming amid the economic uncertainty. More and more people are recognising the wide range of opportunities and career progression the sector offers for talent cut loose from elsewhere.
“As an industry body we’re working hard to improve the perception of the security industry and attract young people and women by highlighting the incredible role security officers play in keeping people and property safe and protected. There’s a lot more to the job than wearing a hi-vis vest.”