5 Common Misconceptions about Security Guards

It goes without saying that movies and TV shows can often influence the way we think or view the world and the Security industry is certainly no exception.

Thanks to Hollywood, there are a bunch of misconceptions out there about being a security officer and what it’s really like to work in the industry.

If you believe what you see in movies, you might think that security jobs are all high-flying and dangerous. Or on the other side of the stereotype; you may perceive security officers as being lazy, unskilled or that the work is boring.

The reality is, Security personnel play an invaluable role in ensuring the safety of people and property and as such, the community has come to rely on their integrity and judgement.

Here, we break down 5 of the most common misconceptions about working in Security and bust the myths that may be holding you back from entering this exciting and lucrative new career.

Myth #1: All Security Guards are Men

Security guard checking female passenger in airport security

Traditionally, the Security Industry has been rather Male-dominated but today, in fact, you might be surprised to know that there is a huge demand throughout the industry for female Security staff, from frontline operations through to senior management.

In a recent article about Women in the Security Industry, Peak Body ASIAL reports:

“Women in the security industry are shifting the gender balance and the perception of a predominantly male-orientated industry by taking on more diverse roles.

Positive cultural change is turning stereotypes around and providing real career pathways for females.”

Being a woman in the security industry today is actually an advantage because there is an organisational support to hire, promote and retain women in the name of diversity. Women and men think a little differently, and that’s a good thing, as diversity on a team brings about greater creativity and fresh approaches to look at the same problem in a new way.

As a result, security executives are actively promoting and recruiting women because they recognize the correlation between diversity and overall business success.

To compliment this recent boom of opportunity there are a range of industry-wide initiatives and networking groups designed specifically for women in the security sector and there is also ample opportunity to be mentored or sponsored by other women in the industry.

ASIS’ Women in Security Council and the SIA’s Women in Security Forum are among the biggest globally.

On the job, female security officers are valued for their covert presence, precision and low-key demeanour.

For women, who are still often the primary caregivers at home, the security industry offers both the stability and flexibility to balance work and home life.

Most importantly, if you want to promote real positive change for other career-driven women, working in the security industry would be a great option for you.

Myth #2: Security Guards need to be built like Bodybuilders

Security Guards don't need to be built like Bodybuilders

Contrary to popular belief, your size does not actually matter in Security.

Although it is commonly perceived that to make a good Security Officer, you need to be 6 foot tall and 6 foot wide, what Employers in the industry are actually looking for is someone with exceptional observational skills, who excels at Customer Service and is a strong communicator.

While it is true that strength and size are sometimes used as a deterrent for troublemakers in some settings, such as Crowd Control, what is even more relevant to an Employer is having security guards who are properly trained to deal with a variety of scenarios and can de-escalate a situation even before it becomes an issue.

The big, intimidating-looking guard might be perfect in a pub/club scenario, but in the corporate environment, it may not be the most appropriate choice.

A huge growth area of the Security industry right now is Control Room Monitoring, and in this type of setting, physical size is irrelevant, as guards generally perform this role from a secure or off-site location.

Roles like Corporate Security, Retail and Loss Prevention and even Armed Security are also great opportunities suited to people of all shapes and sizes.

The bottom line here is that a security guard’s skills and training far outweigh the way they look so if you’re looking to enter the industry, make sure that the training provider you choose is credible and well regarded in the industry.  

Myth #3: Most of the Available work is for Late-Nights and Weekends

Not all Available work is for Late-Nights and Weekends

Whilst there certainly is plenty of late-night and weekend security work in the Venues and Events sector, there is actually a vast range of employment opportunities outside of this that are sometimes less obvious to the uninitiated.

In today’s society, the need for security in businesses and public spaces is 24/7, 365 Days a year and therefore, so is the work available.

If you’re looking to get into the security industry but aren’t keen to give up your evenings and weekends, there’s still a ton a ton of great work options that provide a good income while still allowing you the work-life balance to take care of your family commitments.

Security officers that enjoy regular daytime hours include those that work in corporate and government buildings, museums and art galleries, retail, universities, banks and many more.

On the other side of the coin, it is this 24/7 availability of security work that attracts many into the industry, to begin with. Even those that prefer to work 9 to 5 for the majority of the time enjoy having the option to pick up overtime or extra shifts whenever a little extra cash is needed.

So whether you’re looking full-time or part-time work, daytime hours, evenings or even graveyard shifts, there’s certainly no shortage of work in the security industry to suits whatever your needs and situation may be.

Myth #4: Security work is too Dangerous

Control Room Operator - ISTA Security Job Profiles

Another huge misconception about Security work is that it is all dangerous, but the truth is, the Security Guards are not just hired in areas where there is a high risk of fights.

Security staff can be hired to protect a broad range of businesses, public spaces, property and premises, including shopping malls, educational institutes, office buildings, residential complexes and even construction sites.

What you also may not realise is that proper security training prepares guards for potentially dangerous situations and helps them to deal with those situations effectively when they do come up.

Security officers are trained to detect, deter, observe and report and the proper application of these skills and techniques ensures guards are less at risk of being injured in a chaotic situation.

A guard who is not properly trained will only cause frustration on the scene and also end up in trouble, possibly endangering themselves or the people and property they are hired to protect.

Myth #5: Security Guards are not Trained

Probably one of the biggest misconceptions about the Security Industry is that guards have no skills and just stand there doing not much at all.

This couldn’t be further from the truth!

The reality is, in fact, to hold a Private Security Licence in Australia, guards are required to undertake a minimum of a Certificate II in Security Operations and this qualification requires competency in the application of first aid techniques, defensive tactics, conflict management and much, much more.

Security Officers are trained to deal with a wide variety of scenarios. They are trained to be highly attuned to their surrounds and can spot and minimize a threat before it becomes an issue.

The Security licence itself is highly regulated, governed by the Private Security Act 2004 and processed and administered by the Police Chief Commissioner. Security licence holders, not only have to attend a minimum amount of training to become qualified, but they must also show a genuine competency in the related skills and also maintain currency by renewing those skills from time to time.

These days, particularly in Victoria, security employers tend to have a preference for guards that have been trained beyond this minimum qualification and hold a Certificate III in Security Operations as well as the associated specialisations such as Screening, Control Room, Bodyguard or Armed Guard.

Your training is your first step into the industry and therefore, it is absolutely paramount that the training provider you choose takes their training and compliance processes seriously.

They should be able to provide training in the most up-to-date, best industry practices and they should be well-respected and highly-regarded throughout the industry.

So now that we’ve managed to shed light on some of the common myths surrounding the security industry and those who work in it, why not consider an exciting new career in Security for yourself?

For a training provider that will not only get you qualified but will enable you to hit the ground running, look no further than ISTA.

ISTA is Australia’s leading provider of training and professional development solutions to the Security, Risk Management and Public Safety sectors and has been setting the standards of excellence for over 30 years.

To find out more, contact ISTA today on 1300 134 782

Looking for an exciting and promising career in security? Get started with ISTA’s nationally accredited courses in security operations.

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