THE MAGAZINE

Assessing the State of the Security Industry

By Sherry Harowitz

Some areas of security services are poised for strong growth. For example, 42 percent of respondents indicated that spending would rise on training in 2013, with 12 percent anticipating increases of 10 percent or more. Spending on guard services was projected to increase at 41 percent of companies in 2013, but 43 percent anticipated no change and 16 percent expected cuts. By contrast with the plans on IT spending, it was the largest firms that more often (63 percent) anticipated more spending on contract officers. Spending on employee screening services was projected to increase at 36 percent of organizations in 2013.

Other segments of the service industry may see less growth. For example, 85 percent of those polled said they would hold spending on integration services level in 2013, 5 percentage points more than in 2012; 76 percent of those polled expected not to change the level of spending on alarm system monitoring/response in 2013; and 62 percent had no intention to spend more on consulting, planning, and management services in 2013. Fewer than one-third anticipate increased spending in this area, but even fewer than that (22 percent) expect to spend more on alarm monitoring/response. Still, that’s an improvement over the 2012 numbers and could signify the beginning of an upward trend as the economy continues to improve.

Work Force

While 9-11 was a seminal event in terms of government funding for and attitudes toward homeland security, it did not have a substantial effect on the levels of private security personnel employed long term. After an initial increase, the levels dropped back to what they would have been absent those attacks, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics numbers.

The size of the market as measured in full-time security workers (FTEs) is estimated at between 1.75 and 1.94 million in the United States. The number includes any individuals a company counts as security personnel, whether contract or proprietary (more than half are contract), but it does not include people who work in the industry in support functions, such as a marketing person for a CCTV manufacturer. About 20 percent are senior and executive management.

As might be expected, the largest percentage (70 percent) are security officers, of whom slightly more than one-fourth are armed. Within this category are not only security officers/guards but also armored car guards and gaming surveillance officers. The first category (guards) will grow the most, at 19 percent, through 2020, while gaming surveillance officer positions are expected to grow by 9 percent.

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