Industry Professional

The Talent Shortage

How security entrances can fill the gap

The nationwide talent shortage has had a ripple effect across all industries and the security industry is no exception. Spawned largely by the pandemic and its after-effects, the talent shortage has particularly taken aim at guarding services that rely on highly-skilled labor to perform manual tasks.

Our society depends on such services to monitor facilities, identify security risks and intervene in evolving security events. The need for security guards and their services still exists on a large scale, but the ongoing talent shortage has forced organizations to be creative with how, when and where they are deployed.

Advancements in technology and security entrances has afforded organizations this creativity. A smart combination of human capital and technology solutions combat the ongoing guarding talent shortage, allowing organizations to run their security operations with the same, if not greater, efficiency and security than ever before.

How Did We Get Here?
The guarding talent shortage was not due to one single thing. Rather, it was the culmination of many factors. From a talent perspective, the pandemic caused many guard-related organizations and services to close their doors both temporarily and permanently. Without guard testing, licensing and renewal offices open, guards were unable to receive the proper credentials needed to perform successfully. This has led to a lack of candidates, but also skilled candidates. Given the highly sensitive nature of guarding, a lack of education regarding proper procedures puts an organization at risk – a risk many organizations are not willing to take.

The movement toward remote and hybrid working has also pushed would-be guards to pursue careers in industries that allow for such benefits. Guarding is not remote employment. It involves manual tasks, a downside that often prevents organizations from attracting top talent. Furthermore, guarding is adversarial and confrontational by nature. As violent risk factors grow, potential candidates are steering away from jobs requiring them to confront such issues. Other micro-factors at play that may have contributed to talent shortage include increased unemployment benefits, a candidate’s want or need stay home with children, reluctance to commute and higher wages in unskilled labor industries.

What Does This Mean for Organizations?
The shrinking talent pool has had negative effects on both guarding services and the organizations they serve. Like other industries, staff do more in order to compensate for a reduction in staff. Guards are working longer hours and performing more tasks than ever before. This, of course, allows guard companies to charge more for their services. Conversely, it can lead to overworked guards who are fatigued and more likely to make mistakes. The resulting imbalance between guard supply and demand has effectively changed how companies leverage their available resources.

How Security Entrances Fill the Gap
Security entrances successfully fill the gap between labor supply and demand by offering solutions that operate independently of, or in tandem with security guards. These solutions reduce the current strain on human capital by offering a technology-based alternative.

Depending on the type of security entrance used, guard services that were once deployed to monitor entrances can be redeployed to perform other mission critical tasks. In some cases, facilities that once required multiple guards may reduce the quantity of guards needed, based on the application of highly intelligent entrance solutions. The power to determine the best possible use of guard resources is now back in the hands of the deploying organization itself.

Take for instance a manned security entrance that requires guard services to check-in employees, and prevent any possible tailgating attempts. Consider the guards’ salary, benefits, etc., then multiply this by all other facility entrances using this solution. The costs quickly add up. Now imagine a full height turnstile, security revolving door, or mantrap portal installed at the same entryway. These solutions too are capable of checking employees in, and prohibiting instances of tailgating and piggybacking with far less associated overhead and risk. Instead of employing multiple guards to maintain secure entrances, organizations can now rely on unmanned security entrances that function 24/7/365.

In many instances, it is not feasible to install full-height security entrance solutions. Guards might be used to deter unauthorized entry. The process of checking in employees and guests is still laborious and time consuming. Lines at the door are off putting to guests, which is why corporate lobbies often opt for attractive optical turnstiles for access control. Turnstiles are effective at verifying identities while detecting intrusion and tailgating attempts but cannot prevent intrusions on their own. In these cases, staffing the lobby area with one or two security guards, as opposed to a handful of guards, provides supervision and a quick security response when needed without breaking the bank or creating a wait for entry.

Redeployment, Not Replacement
There will always be a need for security guards and guard services. Instead, the idea is that guards and smart technologies can work together to lessen the effects of a shrinking labor pool. With security entrances, guards are alleviated from mundane, high-risk tasks and free to respond to critical events. For their part, organizations experience infallible security solutions that are also cost-effective over time.

This article originally appeared in the November / December 2022 issue of Security Today.

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