In a year of unforgettable change and disruption, what might 2022 hold for the security industry and broader FM sector?
Expeditious Services look towards a post-COVID world as they share their predictions.
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1. Insourced and Blended Security Contracts
With the National Minimum Wage rising by 6.6 per cent in April 2022, and expected rises in National Insurance, the security industry is going to experience a steep rise in labour costs. These increases in labour cost will be passed onto end-users, with many outsourced contracts likely to no longer be worth their value.
Already, clients in the FM sector and end-users are reviewing their outsourced security contracts due for renewal. Many are becoming more open-minded towards alternative options such as the insourced or blended security delivery model.
A knock-on effect of COVID & Brexit has created an exceptionally competitive jobs market, particularly in security and the FM sector where there is an industry-wide recruitment problem. According to Reuters, 41 per cent of companies with 10+ employees are facing increasing recruitment challenges.
Many employers are paying significantly above minimum wage to try to attract the best candidates, while others are looking at benefits, job security, and covering the cost of qualifications to help plug their labour gaps. After nearly 2 years of instability in the jobs market, we’re starting to see a rise in full-time work as many of the workforce are seeking guaranteed hours and pay, over more casual work and zero-hour contracts.
For security particularly, the costs of new obligatory top-up training and license renewal fees are making many security officers reconsider their career. Also, with the above impact of the National Minimum Wage rise, security companies are going to have to be more pro-active and creative in how they attract candidates to avoid significant labour shortages, especially for entry level positions.
3. Flexibility and Adaptability
The days of Monday-Friday, 9 am-5 pm and commuting to a static office are a thing of the past. One of the many impacts of the pandemic since March 2020, is a rising demand for flexibility and adaptability in security and across the FM sector. McKinsey report 80 per cent of people enjoy working from home, whilst 41 per cent claim to be more productive than before.
From hybrid office spaces, to blended services, digitisation, and remote working, Facilities Management is rapidly changing to meet the needs and expectations of the end-users and clients. There is a growing trend towards varied use and accommodating the exact needs of the users with custom designs, not a one-size-fits-all, something we’ll see more of in 2022 both in offices and security contract design.
4. Technology and Innovation in Contract Management
COVID-19 has shown us what is possible when the traditional contract management expectations are challenged. We’ve noticed clients are more embracing of technology to support account management, decision-making and contract service excellence, instead of the archaic reliance on face-to-face site visits.
It’s a more efficient way of working for the modern world, something Expeditious Services has long been championing. It greatly improves service delivery and efficiency, not to mention the positive impacts on the environment and employee wellbeing.
5. Cyber Security
With the rise in remote working and increased reliance on technology since the start of the pandemic, cyber crime has created extra challenges for businesses and the public. Where many are using COVID as a catalyst for digital transformation, it’s also created a perfect storm for cyber security to be lagging, leaving organisations and individuals vulnerable to threats and attacks. UK businesses have seen a 31 per cent increase in cases during the height of the pandemic, losing an estimated £6.2million to cyber scams.
Whilst organisations are working to improve their protection with investment into cyber security strategies, it is not fast enough to keep up with the rapid evolution of more sophisticated cyberattacks and phishing scams. It’s likely this trend will continue an accelerated trajectory until the difference between scam technology and cyber security technology is narrowed.
2021 has seen big shake-ups in the security industry leader’s landscape. Mergers and acquisitions have been a regular event, such as Bidvest Noonan buying Cordant (amongst 3 other acquisitions), and Mitie bolstered their portfolio with Interserve at the end of 2020.
This absorption of the middle of the Infologue top security companies by the industry leaders has left a huge divide in the rankings. Several giants have been created in the market, with independent and smaller providers competing for business. Given the changing commercial landscape following the pandemic, as well as the recruitment issues and rise in labour costs, it’s expected for this polarisation to continue.
7. Canine Services
Where recruitment of manpower is predicted to be difficult next year, canine security is primed and ready to fill the gaps in labour. Canine services are a resilient and versatile alternative to manned guarding and manned patrols. They deliver rapid initial screening and patrolling of a site, using their natural abilities and instincts to their advantage. As they can cover more ground in a faster time, they are more cost-effective and a powerful deterrent.
We saw an increase in demand for this service over COVID and expect its popularity to rise.
8. Environmental Commitment
Actions speak louder than words, especially when it comes issues of climate change and environmental responsibility. Over 2021, many businesses showcased their new CSR strategy and commitment to caring for the environment, with it becoming an increasingly “on trend” aspect of business to be focusing on. 2022 should be all about putting those words into real action and impact.
The security industry can be detrimental to the environment in many ways and needs to step up and do its part. Not just with policies and goals, but real action. We’re putting our strategy together currently, as well as actively adhering to our ISO 14001 accreditation for environmental management. We really hope to see more of this green thinking and action taking across the sector next year.
9. Health and Wellbeing
The pandemic has brought employee wellbeing into the spotlight. From working conditions, work-life balance, taking sick days to prevent the spread of illness around an office, and illness mitigation measures, many businesses are continuing to implement the lessons they’ve learnt over the last 2 years.
We’re seeing a lot of our clients and supply chain bring above statutory sick pay into discussion and adopting an overall more open and honest culture of looking after physical and mental wellbeing across their organisation. We’re doing our part in changing attitudes towards the value of wellness, with our in-house developed employee wellbeing app, Eximitas, and working hard to instil the company value of “Keep Well”. Prioritising health and wellbeing within a team has huge advantages and it’s something we expect to see more of across the security industry, as employees seek a better work-life balance.
Picture: a photograph of a security camera
Article written by Julie Hulme | Published 20 December 2021
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