Understanding influences on security as a career/job choice: what those working in the security sector think

  • Only 4% of respondents heard of work in security through a careers talk at school/college/university; the most prominent source of awareness was from a suggestion by a friend, colleague or family member (35%).
  • 78% of respondents were attracted to a career in security due to the commitment to protecting people and organisations.
  • 83% of respondents believed security is thought of as an ‘industry’ rather than a ‘profession’
  • 11% of respondents entered security to gain experience to then leave security and pursue another career; but 68% of those individuals indicated they now intend to remain in security.

The aim of the work was to better understand what makes security attractive to recruits and why; and how security can improve its image and present itself as a valued contribution to working life. The report is based on a survey and in depth interviews with security professionals.

The report identifies that one of the main reasons people don’t enter a security career is because they don’t know about the vast variety of roles available, the value of the work, or the benefits to be gained; the majority end up in security by chance. Many myths about security work remain – not least that it is only about ‘manned guarding’ and that it is only for ex-police or ex-military. While, sadly, some frontline roles are low paid, this disguises the fact that many people find commercial security work more lucrative than alternatives, something that inhibits attracting experienced workers but also igniting the interest of those embarking on their first career steps. More effort is needed to challenge negative and out-dated perceptions and to promote the benefits.

Professor Martin Gill who led the research noted:

‘People don’t join the security sector because they don’t know about it. That is damning. Those who do generally reflect very positively noting that it is varied, important and even lucrative. Our task is to ensure that this is no longer a well kept secret.’  

The report is available to download here


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