Security Barometer: Is Your Organization Hiring?

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The word on the street is that Security is having a difficult time filling open positions.

Hiring good personnel has traditionally been a difficult process. It seems this is becoming more difficult as suitable candidates are harder to come by or those that are highly qualified are demanding higher salaries.

This Security Barometer investigates hiring process issues and delves into what is driving the quandary.

Over 80% of participants in the poll stated that their organizations were hiring security personnel.

chart showing most respondents are hiring security personnel

The survey asked about resignations to get an idea into whether resignations were driving the need for hiring or not.

chart showing rate of resignations is roughly normal

Further analysis shows that about 28% of the organizations currently looking or have recently hired new personnel appear to have done so due to the need to grow staff (i.e., they had no recent resignations).

Roughly a quarter of the participants stated the reason for not hiring new personnel was the organization has put a hold on hiring. (Participants were allowed to choose more than one answer to this question.)

chart showing most common reason for not hiring is fully staffed

The Security Barometer poll also wanted to delve into what challenges organizations might be facing in hiring security personnel. (Participants were allowed to select more than one answer to this question.)

chart showing most common challenge to hiring is finding qualified candidates

Some of the “other” reasons included:
  • Candidates not willing to work overtime
  • Lack of work ethic
  • Not COVID vaccinated
  • Geography
  • Noncompetitive wages in market
  • Difficulty finding diverse candidates

Several respondents stated that the difficulty in finding candidates was regionally dependent. Their organizations had no difficulty in certain areas of the world while others had fewer and demanded higher salaries.

A significant number of participants stated that a reason for difficulty is that candidates are seeking non-standard schedules and flexible work environments.

The Security Barometer poll allowed participants to provide commentary and/or explanations for their answers. We thought some of these might be interesting to our readers (this is a partial list and it has been edited to ensure the anonymity of respondents):
  • Small companies are having a difficult time finding qualified loyal people.
  • Seems to me that salary expectations are unrealistic. It’s also evident that retired law enforcement new hires are perfectly content to leave after a year or so to accept 10 to 20 percent more in salary.
  • Candidates are definitely fewer than prior to COVID.
  • Many applicants are looking for a hybrid schedule and not a standard one. Applicants are not looking to work extra hours but part time and on their terms.
  • More candidates requesting flexible working conditions. Now a key decider in accepting a role.
  • Candidates are using our job offers to leverage higher salaries and benefits at their current employer, so it feels like a significant time drain on hiring managers only to be told, sorry, staying with my company. Frustrating.
  • The challenge for us is finding frontline security personnel. The pandemic environment, rising minimum wage, rising wages at other "entry level" jobs, cost aversion of clients, etc., has resulted in a challenging labor market.
  • Seems like all well qualified candidates now are seeking and expecting remote or flexible office arrangements.
  • Lots of candidates out there, but the "superior" version is challenging to find. Lots of retired govt employees that want to be paid an unrealistic amount of money to drink coffee and do minimal work as they are now "retired." The expectation of the private sector is quite the opposite. Other candidates are not as genuine on the resume about experience and capabilities. Challenging times!
  • Legislated hiring profiles are also having a severe impact on the potential pool of recruitable candidates
  • I have found an extremely qualified pool of candidates for any position I posted in the past few years.
  • Shallow talent pool; candidates dictating working terms and salaries; greater than normal number leaving profession.
  • Seeing an increase in applicants with criminal history and unrealistic salary.
  • Qualified candidates may have higher salary expectations while those who may have the necessary qualifications, do not have realistic expectations.
  • We continue to get hits in terms of external candidates but in due time, we find them backing out of the hiring process within a week. Although there is no confirmed reason for this situation, myself and other colleagues tend to think other companies that provide services outside the security services industry, have competing benefits, work flexibility, along with equal or higher pay where the role is less demanding on themselves and their families.
  • There has been a reduction of security personnel due to reduced operation/people on site.
  • Seen a growing call for analysts, difficult to find talent.
Next Steps
Hiring good, qualified candidates is seldom an easy task. The Security Executive Council is made up of people who have many times hired security professionals for their own programs. We can draw on our experience to make your job easier. Contact us to discuss your unique situation.

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