Security guards are an important source of protection for critical facilities in America. Despite this fact security guard salaries for job postings nationwide are 24% lower than average salaries for all job postings nationwide, according to National Salary Trend from indeed.com.
Contract guard salaries for example averaged $19,400 per year in 2003, less than half of the average salary for police and well below the average U.S. salary for all occupations.
This is very strange since security guards play a vital element of terror deterrence and are the first line defense against terrorist attacks.
A security guard (or security officer) is a person who is paid to protect property, assets, or people. Security guards are usually privately and formally employed personnel. Often, security officers are uniformed and act to protect property by maintaining a high visibility presence to deter illegal and inappropriate actions, observing (either directly, through patrols, or by watchina alarms systems or video cameras) for signs of crimes, fire or disorder; then taking action and reporting any incidents to their client and emergency services as appropriate. Protecting people and property from accidents and crime is the principal role of security guards.
Security guards monitor, patrol, and inspect property to protect against fire, theft, vandalism, and other illegal activity. They may enforce laws on their employer’s grounds, conduct incident interviews, make citizens arrests, provide emergency medial help to people, prepare incident reports, and provide legal testimony. Guards may work at one location, or may patrol among multiple locations to conduct security checks. Security guards typically use radios and telephones to call for assistance from police, fire, or other emergency services as required. In this way they help police and emergency services do their job of protecting the nation - but only make a fraction of what local police officers make.
Security guards are a vital component to protecting civilian infrastructure.
In the state of Florida Security Guards are required to attend a 40 hour class to become certified, in addition to a extensive criminal background check. Some would like to raise that standard by having a single federal standard for the nation, but Congress is reluctant to do that. In Florida as in many other states security guards have to pay the entire cost of their training and certification. Many are then pigeon holed in "part time" positions so the security firm can purposely avoid any requirements to pay their officers benefits like sick leave, health insurance and dental coverage. There is also a reluctance by many security firms to invest any real training into their guards once they are hired on.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that over 14% of all security guards work part-time. Firms pay workers poverty wages so they can pass along the health insurance costs to the states...
I should say the number of part-time employees is higher among contract guards than among staff guards...but contract guards make up the bulk of security guards in the marketplace.
In talking with many former and current security guards, pay and the lack of real benefits like health care, sick leave, dental coverage and 401K plans are a major reason why there is high turn over in the field.
This is partly to blame on the incredibly high cost and burden of private health insurance in this country.
Congress has made this situation worse by supporting a health care system in this nation that is ran by private for profit health insurance companies and private hospital networks, which in many way undermines the health (and security) of the entire nation by denying coverage to the most vulnerable people in our society and turning the entire health care delivery system into a business enterprise, will all kinds of abuses, including fraud, waste and abuse of patients by doctors, health insurance companies and hospital administrators. Its a racket.
But that is only part of the problem we have with security guards firms in this nation.
Because of the cost of benefits like health insurance there has been a trend to reduce benefits and salaries across the board for security guards in this country. Making it very hard to attract and keep quality people.
Security guards are considered cheap labor in this country, standards are very low across the board. In many cases they make about the same as a pizza delivery driver...Despite the fact that private security guards are guarding the bulk of civilian infrastructure and assuming greater and greater responsibility to protect the nation from terrorist threats, the trend within the industry is toward foreign ownership and control and a reduction of benefits to workers.
The top 3 private security firms in the nation, Pinkerton, Burns and Wackenhut, renamed G4s are all foreign owned companies, guarding such critical infrastructure as chemical, energy plants, telecommunications facilities in this country. In Bayer, Texas private security firms have taken over the pre-trial services of some local sheriff departments.
Some say this foreign ownership and control of the nations security guard firms is a greater national security threat than the lack of a uniform federal training standard of security guards. I'm not sure I agree with them or not.
I guess only time will tell on that.
In the meantime the lack of benefits, low pay are seen as a more immediate problem for those people struggling to make security a career...