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Demand for Security Guards, Cybersecurity Workers Remains High Amid Coronavirus Pandemic

Security companies are scrambling to hire guards and IT workers as businesses worry about break-ins to closed properties and cybersecurity issues associated with working remotely.

With more than 20 million Americans becoming unemployed in just the past four weeks due to the COVID-19 crisis, security companies have actually taken steps to expand their workforce thanks to increased demand for security guards and cybersecurity employees.

Business owners across the country are concerned about leaving their properties unmanned during widespread lockdowns amid fears of an uptick in crime. Security companies are responding to the increase in demand for these essential workers.

Allied Universal announced its intention to hire more than 30,000 security professionals nationwide over the next two months this week. And Securitas said on Tuesday that it is planning to add nearly 1,000 security guard jobs in California in addition to its existing workforce of 15,000, according to CBS SF Bay Area.

“It is becoming increasingly common for our clients to request our assistance in supporting their own emergency management efforts, such as guarding hospitals, healthcare facilities, clinics and grocery stores,” Kimberly Carson, the vice president of human resources for the Securitas Pacific Region, said in a statement. “These organizations need security services assistance from our first responder security officers.”

Citiguard, another security services provider in California, is planning to add 500 guards in the Los Angeles area. Sami Nomair, the president of the company, told CBS Los Angeles that demand has been “really high for hospitals for security services.”

“Urgent Cares have added extra security services,” Nomair said. “We’ve gotten calls where people have been robbed. We had a call that just came in yesterday from a client of ours in Irvine that had 15 golf carts stolen.”

There is also still high demand for cybersecurity workers, who are also considered essential amid a wave of employees shifting to working from home. A CyberVista report published on Thursday noted that the global economic depression has spared “very few sectors,” but that it appears many organizations are still actively seeking cybersecurity talent. According to LinkedIn statistics, approximately 261,545 cybersecurity jobs were posted on the site within the past 30 days, including positions in the IT and financial services sectors.

Companies were already struggling to close a major cybersecurity jobs gap, but the pandemic has only exacerbated the need for cybersecurity skills, according to CyberVista.

“The sudden shift to remote and distance work created a dire need for cybersecurity professionals to secure networks, technology, and personnel activity,” the report reads. “One of the most efficient ways for organizations to keep up with shifting personnel profiles is to turn their talent hunt inward and upskill or reskill existing employees. This is an ideal opportunity for these organizations to identify alternative sources of talent that could be reskilled into cybersecurity roles.”

CyberVista researchers also noted that the massive toll of the pandemic may lead unemployed Americans to explore cybersecurity careers in a way they may never have considered.

“Like other times of economic disruption and dislocation, this is also an opportunity for individuals looking to switch careers or break into the cybersecurity industry,” the report reads. “Evidence and experience has shown that some of the best cybersecurity profiles start out with the same skills that would lead to success across a myriad of positions: self-motivation, critical thinking, interpersonal communication, and other ‘soft’ skills.”

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    September 2020

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