Security Industry Embraces Youth: Trend of Hiring Ever-Younger Staff on the Rise

How many of you have thought that Security Officers, Door Supervisors, CCTV Operatives and even Close Protection license holders seem to be getting younger? This is by no means an uncommon opinion in most industries; however the data reflects a change in our industry that we should recognise.

Now, I absolutely do not want to suggest that more youth in our industry is a bad thing – I myself started working the doors in Edinburgh not long after my 18th Birthday. However, currency in our industry is credibility, that comes from confidence and experience. As a teenager, I was certainly lacking in one of those, perhaps some of you can relate…

A posh, English, fresh faced teenager working in Scotland’s capital city at the time of the Independence referendum – I was used to being a novelty. It got better when I was able to grow facial hair, though I’m still working on the English thing…

That feeling that people around you are getting younger and younger, is, as anyone can confirm – pretty standard.  Unsurprisingly, the Germans have a word for it – Altersverzerrung (_Al-ter-sfer-tser-roong_), age-bias, or age-distortion.

So, what does the data say? SIA License statistics show that the age of the average Security Worker is getting younger. In October 2021 the average age of a security worker was 26.9. In October 2023, it is 25.5 years old. Equally, In December of 2020 1.56% of license holders were teenagers, 2 years ago only 2.74% of license holders were teenagers, now the figure is 3.99%.
If all factors stay the same, by December 2030 10% of all License holders would be teenagers.

This is not what you might expect to see – according to the Chartered Institute of Personnel & Development, “Older workers represent a growing number and proportion of the labour market. There are currently 9.4 million people in employment over the age of 50 in the UK, equivalent to over 30% of the workforce”. But our workforce is getting younger.

So why? It could be the fact that Security Work is appealing for non-native workers. The Labour force survey estimates about half of all new arrivals in the UK are under the age of 25. Given that 40% of our industry does not identify as British, this is a likely factor.

It could also be the fact that more and more young people are feeling the strain of economic pressures, and are looking for better paid part-time work, which the Security Industry can certainly offer.

Whatever the reason, what does this mean for employers, clients and existing professionals? There are no doubt many benefits, younger workers can bring energy and agility, tech-savviness, a fresh perspective. They are also cost-efficient – younger workers generally have lower wage expectations than more experienced personnel, which can be cost-effective for employers.
From my own experience, I can also safely say that we will see issues around Emotional Maturity, essential in maintaining composure in stressful and potentially dangerous situations. There may be concerns around professionalism, we’ve seen as much with the recent Manchester Bombing enquiry drawing attention to the youth and inexperience of many of the team members involved.

For better and worse, as we get older – the industry will keep getting younger.

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