My last posting I talked about the core values each Security Professional needs to have, in order to be a proactive member of our industry. This week, I’d like to start a conversation about implementing those core values when seeking that ideal job.
Unfortunately, the vast majority of Security Professionals live paycheck to paycheck. Only about the top 25% make a decent living and the top 10% of that group, makes a really good living. With that said, most Security Professionals take what they can get. And who can blame them, our industry is over worked and under paid. So who do we have to blame? The Security Company? The End User? In my opinion, both.
Let’s look at the Security Company Owners first. At my Security firm, we have a saying, “Slow and Deliberate.” That’s what we live by. We take a hard and close look at every opportunity that comes our way. My partner and I ask ourselves if the opportunity makes good sense for the overall vision of our company. Obviously, we look at exposure, liability, etc. If we are comfortable with the amount of risk, we ask ourselves “What will it cost to send a quality professional to the job site?” We have found time and time again, that we tend to be 10% - 15% higher than our competitors. And the reason for that is very simple, greed on the behave of the owners. Most security company owners understand that this industry is a numbers game. They know and unfortunately except the fact that the end user wants the cheapest hourly rate as possible. So instead of banding together to raise the expectations of the end user, most company owners present the lowest possible hourly bid. And when they bow to the end user, who do you think gets the short end? You, the Security Professional. When they present such low hourly rates, they are forced to take any job that comes their way. It’s all about quantity, not quality. Too many owners want a huge piece of the pie. Instead of ensuring their employees and taken care of, they are willing to sell their employees short.
In order to change the culture of lowered expectations from the end user, Security Company owners needs to put greater value on their product, you. They need to fight the urge of greed and focus on building a security company the impacts our industry in a positive way.
If you are an End User, you’re not off the hook just yet. You are as responsible for this as the owners are. As a business owner, I fully understand wanting to live within certain budgetary guidelines. Unfortunately, security has taken a back seat for too long. End users are uneducated when it comes to interacting with their Security vendor. Too many times I’ve seen them cut on cost just to find themselves exposed to unnecessary risk. If I’ve said it once, “You get what you pay for!” Once you put a value on your security program you will start to understand what it’s like to have a fully functioning program in place. Your Security program is not like ordering a pizza. It is something that should be taken very seriously. The down side to this, it all comes at a cost.
In closing, my advice to everyone, is do your research before working at or employing the services of a Security Company. Ask their representatives for a client list. Ask random officers what their thoughts about the company are. Look into the backgrounds of the company owners, etc.
If you take your time, you will find something that may serve as a stepping stone for your future endeavors.
By Erik R. Bergling