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How has the Security Industry Changed in 2021?

How Has the Security Industry Changed in 2021?
09 December 2021

2021 has been a year of transition, turbulence, and uncertainty for many, as well as creating opportunities to make change for the better. But how has it impacted the security industry? Expeditious Services leaders share their thoughts:


1. Flexible Security Design


“Over the last year, with transient COVID restrictions and changing business needs, I’ve noticed clients are more amenable to a more holistic approach to security design. Instead of the standard manned guarding, or CCTV as standalone services, businesses have been more open-minded to looking at these in integration with each other. I’ve found this flexible security design hugely advantageous with the clients we’ve been supporting in 2021, helping them create efficiencies throughout their contracts and support long-term cost savings.”

Gavin McGuinness, Security SME & Compliance Director


2. Recruitment


“Recruitment has been a struggle for many industries, especially security. Before COVID, security officers were seen and not heard, then overnight they became a major frontline role with key responsibilities and expectations in keeping the public safe. Unfortunately, this has led to many falling ill to the virus or reconsidering their career completely. Being a security officer is typically a low paid role, with a personal responsibility to outlay the costs for SIA licences and training. Many have had the time to look for less regulated work, for similar pay and fewer responsibilities. The double-hit of Brexit has also meant many companies have seen their security workforces return home to the EU, leaving even bigger labour gaps behind.”

Elizabeth Smith, People & Culture Manager


3. Technology and Innovation


“In recent years there’s been a notable uptick in the reliance businesses are placing on technology and innovation to support their security strategy. Coronavirus has only catalysed this, driving digitisation in areas long-needing updating, and pushing for more services to be done remotely, such as monitoring and access, to help with social distancing and minimising virus spread. Some of the most popular security technology and innovation at the moment includes CCTV installation, internal helpdesk installation, remote monitoring, and remote access."

Jamie Jones, Installation Manager.


4. Polarised Marketplace


“The security company landscape has seen some significant changes over 2021. With the threats of Brexit and COVID severely impacting labour shortages, business costs, and business closures, many smaller companies have unfortunately not survived the challenges of the last year. On the other end of the scale, the leaders of the security industry have only got bigger. Mergers and acquisitions have been happening thick and fast. Bidvest Noonan particularly have been on a mission to dominate the FM world with a total of 4 acquisitions, including security company Cordant, Mitie has also had notable growth from acquiring Interserve at the end of 2020 and more recently Bouygues have acquired Engie’s services subsidiary, Equans.

"This has created an extremely polarised marketplace; with a few key companies dominating the security industry, leaving smaller companies to compete for space.”

Anton Shuttlewood, CEO.


5. Security Officer Charge Rates


“The increase in charge rates over the last year - thanks to COVID and Brexit - has pushed up prices, and many businesses are trying to recoup lost revenue. I’ve noticed this is creating a trend in companies wanting to review their security provision early ahead of planned review dates. Many service users are looking towards alternative methods of service delivery, e.g., insourcing and hybrid models, technology, innovation and downsizing their provision in a bid to save money. Of course, this needs to be done carefully and with proper due diligence to avoid increasing risk.”

Julie Hulme, Commercial Director



Picture: a photograph of Julie Hulme


6. SIA License Top-Up Training


Improving training and knowledge amongst security officers, and upskilling industry standards is of course a great thing. I really welcome the new SIA top-up qualifications which were brought into effect in October 2021. These new compulsory “license-linked qualifications” cover first-aid, terror threat and awareness, global and critical incident management, and physical intervention. I think they’re a fantastic way for officers to keep their skills sharp, and to drive confidence and credibility throughout the security sector.

"The only downside is of course an officer must cover the cost for these themselves (on top of license renewals and training), as well as having to take time off work to complete the course. Security officers are often not well paid, and after a challenging year, this might be a deterrent to people joining the industry or renewing their license.”

Jason Pope, Service Excellence Director.

Picture: a photograph of three Expeditious team members in their control room, gathered around a computer screen

Article written by Jen Eastwood | Published 09 December 2021


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