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The Labor Shortage in Physical Security: Causes, Impacts, and Solutions


The physical security industry is facing a labor shortage. This is due to a number of factors, including the increasing demand for security professionals, and the lack of qualified candidates.

Causes of the Labor Shortage

The changing nature of security threats:

The security threats that organizations face are constantly evolving. This is due to a number of factors, such as the increasing sophistication of cybercriminals, the rise of terrorism, and the increasing use of technology in crime. As a result, security professionals need to have a wide range of skills and knowledge to effectively protect their organizations, which can make it difficult to find qualified candidates.

The increasing complexity of security systems:

Security systems are becoming increasingly complex due to the increasing use of technology. This can make it difficult to find qualified candidates who have the skills and knowledge to install, maintain, and operate these systems.

The lack of diversity in the security workforce:

The security workforce is not as diverse as it should be. This is due to a number of factors, such as the perception that security jobs are not attractive to women and minorities. As a result, organizations may not have the security professionals they need to understand and relate to the needs of all of their employees and customers.

The negative perception of security jobs:

Some people have a negative perception of security jobs. They may view security jobs as boring, low-paying, or dangerous. As a result, these people may not be interested in pursuing a career in security.

Retirement of baby boomers:

The baby boomer generation is retiring in large numbers, and this is creating a shortage of experienced security professionals.

Increasing demand for security professionals:

The demand for security professionals is growing due to a number of factors, such as the increasing threat of terrorism, the increasing number of cyberattacks, and the need to protect critical infrastructure.

Lack of qualified candidates:

There is a lack of qualified candidates for security jobs due to the high skill requirements and the low pay.

Impacts of the Labor Shortage

Higher wages:

Organizations are having to raise wages to attract and retain qualified security professionals. This is increasing the cost of security for organizations. According to a 2022 study by the Security Industry Association (SIA), the average security guard salary in the UK is £23,400. This is up from £22,400 in 2021. The SIA has not yet released its 2023 study on security guard salaries in the UK. However, based on the trends in recent years, it is likely that the average salary for security guards in the UK will continue to rise in 2023.

Reduced efficiency:

The labor shortage is leading to reduced efficiency in security operations. This is because organizations are not able to fill all of their security positions, which can lead to longer wait times for security checks and other security-related tasks. For example, A study by the British Retail Consortium (BRC) found that the average wait time for a security check at a retail store in the UK has increased by 15% in the past year.

Increased risk of security breaches:

The labor shortage is increasing the risk of security breaches. This is because organizations are not able to adequately monitor their security systems and assets, which can make them more vulnerable to attack. According to a 2022 report by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), the average cost of a data breach in the UK is £3.21 million. This is up from £2.98 million in 2021.

The ICO report also found that the average cost of a data breach is increasing at a rate of 12% per year.

Damage to reputation:

A security breach can damage an organization’s reputation. This can lead to lost customers, lost revenue, and legal liability. For example, the Target data breach in 2013 resulted in the loss of over 40 million customer records. This breach cost Target an estimated $167 million.

Increased liability:

The labor shortage can increase an organization’s liability. This is because organizations may be held responsible for the actions of their security guards, even if those guards are not qualified or adequately trained. For example, a security guard who is not properly trained may allow a criminal to enter a building, which could result in a lawsuit against the organization.

Increased competition for qualified candidates:

Organizations are competing with each other for qualified security professionals.

These are just some of the impacts of the labor shortage in physical security. By understanding these impacts, organizations can take steps to mitigate them and protect themselves from the risks associated with the labor shortage.

Solutions to the Labor Shortage

Increase the pay for security professionals:

This is one of the most effective ways to attract and retain qualified security professionals. By increasing wages, organizations can make the jobs more competitive and attract candidates who may not have considered a career in security otherwise.

Provide more training and education for security professionals:

This is another way to increase the number of qualified security professionals. By providing training and education, organizations can help to develop the skills and knowledge that security professionals need to be successful.

Partner with educational institutions:

This is a way to develop more security professionals by working with schools and colleges to create programs that train students for careers in security. This can help to ensure that there is a pipeline of qualified candidates available to organizations.

Use technology to automate security tasks:

This is a way to free up security professionals to focus on more complex tasks. By automating tasks such as monitoring security cameras and access control systems, security professionals can be freed up to focus on tasks that require human judgment and decision-making.

Rethink the security role:

This is a way to change the way security is perceived and valued. Security professionals play a critical role in protecting organizations from a variety of threats. By rethinking the security role, organizations can help to raise the profile of security and attract more qualified candidates.

These are just some of the solutions to the labor shortage in physical security. By implementing these solutions, organizations can help to attract and retain qualified security professionals and protect their assets and people.


The labor shortage in physical security is a serious problem. It is important for organizations to take steps to address this problem, such as increasing wages, providing more training and education, and partnering with educational institutions. By taking these steps, organizations can help to ensure that they have the qualified security professionals they need to protect their assets and people.


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