European Commission study confirms “promising era of growth” for UK’s security business sector

A study* wholly focused around the development of statistical data on the European security technological and industrial base has shown that the UK’s security sector finds itself in “a promising era of growth”.

The study, which was commissioned by the European Commission’s (EC) Directorate for Migration and Home Affairs, aimed at developing statistical data that would offer a clearer picture of the present security business sector across Europe.

The research takes into account existing statistical data, while also evidencing the results of company surveys conducted in seven EU Member States (namely the UK, Germany, Estonia, Spain, France, Italy and Poland), with the results extrapolated to compile an assessment of the size, structure and performance of the overall EU security industry sector and market.

Judging by the results, the outlook for the UK’s security business sector appears very positive. According to the research, UK turnover growth has burgeoned above and beyond that of any of the other Member States surveyed, with 35% of UK respondents citing that turnover has risen by more than 25% across the past five years.

A further 15% of UK respondents reported growth of up to 25%, while only 13% stated that they’ve experienced a decrease in business.

Looking ahead, and again according to the EC’s research, the UK’s security sector can expect growth of 16% over the next five years, a figure which is well above the average growth rate for all respondents of 10%.

Perhaps most striking are the figures quoted for the UK security sector’s turnover and employment. As defined by the research, the total turnover for all security products and services (not including defence) is €25.4 billion, while an estimated 352,000 people are presently employed by the UK’s security industry.

Economic importance of the UK’s security business sector

Commenting on the results, James Kelly (CEO of the British Security Industry Association) said: “This research demonstrates the economic importance of the UK’s security industry. It’s very pleasing to see data supporting the notion that the UK’s security industry is growing. The statistics show that our industry is performing admirably on the domestic front as well as wider afield in global markets, in turn positioning the UK as a global leader for security products and services. This is something about which we should be proud. The ‘Great British brand’ is in demand, and we expect that this trend will continue as more and more UK companies expand their business overseas.”

James Kelly: CEO of the BSIA

James Kelly: CEO of the BSIA

Indeed, the EC’s comprehensive research also tells a compelling story when it comes to export market share for total sales of security products and services. The UK has the strongest export share in total sales, with approximately 55% of UK respondents admitting to having a degree of export exposure.

Interestingly, 15% of UK respondents claim to have an export share of between 75% and 100% of total sales.

Members of the BSIA’s Export Council – a dedicated forum for BSIA member companies focused on extending their business to overseas markets – have also reported an increase in the demand for British security products and services. According to research conducted by the Trade Association, 60% of respondents to the annual Export Council survey cite a 60% increase in overseas business during 2015, while a further 30% highlight that their own level of business has remained the same.

According to the BSIA’s research, further increases in overseas trade are expected for 2016, with a clear focus on the Middle East as an important market for the UK’s security business sector.

40% of respondents identified the Middle East as the single most important target market, while 80% of those who took part in the survey are looking to increase their level of business in this region.

*http://ec.europa.eu/dgs/home-affairs/e-library/documents/policies/security/reference-documents/docs/security_statistics_-_final_report_en.pdf

About the Author
Brian Sims BA (Hons) Hon FSyI, Editor, Risk UK (Pro-Activ Publications) Beginning his career in professional journalism at The Builder Group in March 1992, Brian was appointed Editor of Security Management Today in November 2000 having spent eight years in engineering journalism across two titles: Building Services Journal and Light & Lighting. In 2005, Brian received the BSIA Chairman’s Award for Promoting The Security Industry and, a year later, the Skills for Security Special Award for an Outstanding Contribution to the Security Business Sector. In 2008, Brian was The Security Institute’s nomination for the Association of Security Consultants’ highly prestigious Imbert Prize and, in 2013, was a nominated finalist for the Institute's George van Schalkwyk Award. An Honorary Fellow of The Security Institute, Brian serves as a Judge for the BSIA’s Security Personnel of the Year Awards and the Securitas Good Customer Award. Between 2008 and 2014, Brian pioneered the use of digital media across the security sector, including webinars and Audio Shows. Brian’s actively involved in 50-plus security groups on LinkedIn and hosts the popular Risk UK Twitter site. Brian is a frequent speaker on the conference circuit. He has organised and chaired conference programmes for both IFSEC International and ASIS International and has been published in the national media. Brian was appointed Editor of Risk UK at Pro-Activ Publications in July 2014 and as Editor of The Paper (Pro-Activ Publications' dedicated business newspaper for security professionals) in September 2015. Brian was appointed Editor of Risk Xtra at Pro-Activ Publications in May 2018.

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