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Modernising the security industry

Security and recruitment are traditional industries, however, with modern candidates comes an urgent need for transformation, writes James Doyle, pictured, co-founder and director of Broadstone, a staffing platform.

When it comes to looking for work, smartphones and tablets are taking priority over high street recruitment branches. And any security firm not meeting this candidate need are likely to miss out on highly qualified and verified personnel. As we’ve suggested, security is becoming a candidate-driven business, with officers increasingly dictating the way they want to work; flexibly, on smart phones and for a range of different companies. Gone are the days of searching jobs boards or trekking to a high street recruiter. They want a smarter way of working that puts them in control and means they can find work, cover shifts and get paid in a much more streamlined and efficient way.

More and more officers are looking for flexibility and hours that suit their lifestyles instead of a traditional nine to five, fuelled further by increasing demand for secondary jobs to top up regular incomes. For example, officers on zero hours or part time contracts may look for additional flexible security shifts at evenings or weekends and they need a quick and easy way to find job openings and flexible roles.

So, any security firm offering a job that doesn’t address the modern candidate is going to suffer. As such, rather than following the traditional ‘race to the bottom’ approach, security recruitment is becoming much more candidate-driven. So, how are innovations and emerging technologies supporting this new ‘race to the top approach’?


There are three main technologies that are driving digital transformation in the security industry: artificial intelligence (AI), gamification and apps. It’s not particularly revolutionary to suggest this; it’s a trend that’s clearly visible and successful in other markets and sectors. Machine learning matching algorithms, facial recognition identity checks, automated invoice/payroll processing, AI-driven chatbots and a geolocation punch clock, gamification systems and personalised apps have all been brought to the security sector.

Security firms are using them for tasks such as interview scheduling, facial recognition, candidate screening and communication. When deployed well, AI is an incredible boost to a security firm and its officers. AI will analyse data quickly and accurately, learn behaviours, identify trends and perform repetitive tasks much quicker than a human.


Performance is being improved thanks to gamification; by using game theory and designs, security firms are engaging with and motivating officers, as well as supporting the candidate screening and job application process. Gaming principles can include elements such as profile rating, badges awarded for certain performance related milestones, employee of the month schemes, behavioural quizzes, and community engagement. It builds meaningful relationships, boosts employee motivation and even supports training and productivity.

Critically, in a candidate-driven market, it allows security firms to reward officers for good practice, empowering them to drive higher standards. For those security firms that require access to a pool of vetted officers for immediate work, gamification can speed up the recruitment process, testing skills such as accuracy, time management, creative thinking and logic. These modern strategies are enabling firms to establish a real point of difference at a time when unemployment is at its lowest.

App-y officers

As we have established, many security officers use their mobile device to find work but firms can take this one step further by managing the employment process via a personalised app – including timesheet management and payroll systems. Apps can discreetly send push notifications that match their profile, enable messaging, and offer urgent vacancies when time is tight or for out of hours requests. This is particularly useful for temporary roles.

Security firms are operating more effectively and efficiently, reducing labour intensive tasks and streamlining processes. Officers are benefitting from instant engagement with their employer – completely overhauling the way they usually work.

Flexible work, pay

In such a candidate-driven market, and at a time when jobs outweigh the number of suitable officers, security firms must match their flexible approach to work with a flexible approach to pay.

Innovative technologies are enabling firms to offer temporary, on-demand workers the option of drawing down on their pay when their shift is finished; vital in such a competitive sector.

The security industry continues to evolve, largely driven to the shift in power from an employer to candidate-driven market. As such, the power is now in officers’ hands. Firms must adapt if they are to meet these new expectations and digitalisation is at the centre of this with emerging technologies continuing to disrupt and challenge the traditional approach to security recruitment.


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