Search by IRC, Industry, sector, training package, IRC skills forecast or occupation.

Security and Investigation


This page provides information and data on the Security and Investigation sector, which is one component of the Property Services industry.

The Security and Investigation sector includes those involved in the provision of private security and investigation services, technical security, and risk management. Approximately 6,018 business were operating in this sector in 2018, with most businesses (81.3%) being small, local operators who sub-contract for larger businesses. Three major operators in this industry account for approximately one fifth of industry revenue. There are licensing requirements for security occupations in all states and territories, which are generally linked to completion of vocational training.

Nationally recognised training for Security and Investigation is delivered under the CPP Property Services Training Package.

For information on policing, see Police.

Information sourced from the Property Services IRC’s 2019 Skills Forecast.

All data sources are available at the end of the page.

IRC and Skills Forecasts

Employment trends

Employment snapshot

Employment level and projection data for Security Officers and Guards has been used as a proxy for the wider Security and Investigation sector, as detailed data for the latter was unavailable. Employment levels for Security Officers and Guards rose between 2000 and 2019, with peaks in 2007 and 2013 and an overall high of 65,000 in 2019. Employment for this occupation is projected to increase to around 72,300 by 2024. The majority (58%) of workers in the Investigation and Security Services industry are Security Officers and Guards according to 2016 Census.

Training trends

Training snapshot

Program enrolments and completions in Security and Investigation-related qualifications both decreased overall between 2015 and 2018, with completions showing a small rise in 2017. There were 26,460 enrolments in this sector in 2018, and 17,910 completions. Nearly all qualifications in this sector in 2018 were either at the certificate II (63%) or certificate III (33%) levels and were in the area of security operations (94%). Nearly all students enrolling in this sector in 2018 had an intended occupation of Security Officer or Guard (93%). Enrolments during this period were overwhelmingly at private training providers (96%) and were most often funded though domestic fee-for-service arrangements (65%). The largest proportion of students enrolled in this sector in 2017 were from Queensland (28%) followed by Victoria (27%) and New South Wales (17%). Approximately one third of training was delivered in Queensland (33%), followed by Victoria (28%) and New South Wales (17%).

Apprentice and trainee commencements fell from a peak of 500 in 2011 to 140 in 2013, remaining relatively stable until 2016 before rising to 180 in 2017 and falling to 100 in 2018. Completions fell overall from 160 in 2010 to 60 in 2018, experiencing peaks of 230 in 2011, 240 in 2013 and 140 in 2017 along the way. All apprentices and trainees in training in 2018 in this sector had intended occupations of Security Officers and Guards. The largest proportion of apprentices and trainees in this sector were reported by Tasmania (40%), Victoria (30%) or Western Australia (26%).

For more data specific to your occupation, industry or training package, visit NCVER’s VET students by industry. If you are prompted to log in, select cancel and you will continue to be directed to the program.

For more data specific to your region visit NCVER’s Atlas of Total VET.

If you are interested in extracting NCVER data to construct tables with data relevant to you, sign up for a VOCSTATS account. Industry insights

Industry insights

Industry insights on skills needs

According to the Property Services IRC’s 2019 Skills Forecast, the top generic skills for the Property Services industry as a whole, and therefore for the Architectural, Survey and Related Services sector are, in addition to knowledge specific to the industry area:

  • Managerial / Leadership
  • Language, Literacy and Numeracy (LLN) (Foundation skills)
  • Customer service / Marketing
  • Financial
  • Technology.

According to job vacancy data, the top generic skills in demand in the Security and Investigation sector are:

  • Communication skills
  • Planning
  • Research
  • Writing
  • Building effective relationships.

Additionally, the job vacancy data identifies the following occupations as most in-demand for this sector: Security Officers and Guards, Computer Network Professionals, Database and Systems Administrators, and ICT Security Specialists, Precision Metal Trades Workers and Environmental Scientists. The top employers for the sector include MSS Security, Australian Government, Assetlink, DRS Technologies and Access Hardware.

The Property Services IRC’s 2019 Skills Forecast identifies consumer demand and the adoption of new technologies as a driver for change for this sector. Security services business have begun not only to make use of Internet of Things (IoT) and smart technologies to provide home security solutions, but also to provide home energy management services through these devices as well. Increasing urbanisation is also expected to increase the need for home security systems and security services.

The Property Services IRC’s 2018 Skills Forecast identifies the cyber security project currently underway (led by PwC’s Skills for Australia) has significance for this sector. This project centres around the development of new units in the area of cyber security, and the identification of existing units relating to cyber security. This has relevance to the security services offered by this sector, with a need to understand how emerging cyber security concerns relate to the Property Services industry.

The Property Services IRC’s 2018 Skills Forecast highlights several current and future issues for skills needs in this sector. These include a lack of language, literacy and numeracy and customer service skills among the high numbers of recent migrants and underqualified workers present in the sector. This points to a role for vocational education and training in ensuring entry level workers in Security and Investigation are equipped with these skills. There are also issues around inconsistent licensing. While those operating in this sector often require licensing, differences between the various state and territory requirements may result in workers crossing borders in order to obtain their licence in a state or territory with fewer requirements.

The Property Services IRC Skills Forecast 2017 also highlights the role of advancements in technology in reducing the need for labour in this sector, and increasing the need for workers who can operate these technologies. The use of tools such as computerised central alarm systems and security camera monitoring systems are now widespread within the sector.

The Training in security programs in Australia report by the Australian Skills Quality Authority identifies the presence of very short courses in this sector as threatening training and skills quality, as graduates of these courses often do not gain all the necessary skills and competencies. It also highlights the inconsistent licensing requirements mentioned above, underscoring the importance of alignment between qualifications and licensing requirements.

Links and resources

Data sources and notes

Department of Employment 2018, Employment Projections, available from the Labour Market Information Portal

  • by ANZSCO, selected occupations, employment projections to May 2023
    • 3233 Precision Metal Trades Workers
    • 3423 Electronics Trades Workers
    • 4422 Security Officers and Guards.

Australian Bureau of Statistics 2018, Employed persons by Occupation unit group of main job (ANZSCO), Sex, State and Territory, August 1986 onwards, 6291.0.55.003 - EQ08, viewed 1 November 2018

  • Employed total by ANZSCO 4422 Security Officers and Guards, 2000 to 2018, May Quarter.

Australian Bureau of Statistics 2017, 2016 Census – employment, income and unpaid work, TableBuilder. Findings based on use of ABS TableBuilder data.

  • Employment level by 4 digit 7712 Investigation and Security industry, and 4 digit level occupations to identify the relevant VET-related occupations in the industry as a proportion of the total workforce.

Training data has been extracted from the National VET Provider Collection, Total VET students and courses from the following training packages or qualifications:

  • CPP Property Services Training Package, PRS Asset Security Training Package
  • Investigative Services
    • CPP30607 - Certificate III in Investigative Services
    • PRS30303 - Certificate III in Investigative Services
  • Security and Risk Management
    • CPP40707 - Certificate IV in Security and Risk Management
    • CPP50607 - Diploma of Security and Risk Management
    • CPP50611 - Diploma of Security and Risk Management
    • PRS20198 - Certificate II in Security (Guarding)
    • PRS20203 - Certificate II in Technical Security
    • PRS20298 - Certificate II in Security (Technical Access)
    • PRS20398 - Certificate II in Security (Access Management)
    • PRS20498 - Certificate II in Investigative Services
    • PRS30198 - Certificate III in Security (Guarding)
    • PRS30203 - Certificate III in Technical Security
    • PRS30298 - Certificate III in Security (Control Room Operations)
    • PRS30398 - Certificate III in Security (Technical Access)
    • PRS30498 - Certificate III in Security (Access Management)
    • PRS30598 - Certificate III in Investigative Services
    • PRS40103 - Certificate IV in Security and Risk Management
    • PRS40198 - Certificate IV in Security (Control Room Operations)
    • PRS40298 - Certificate IV in Security (Technical Access)
    • PRS40498 - Certificate IV in Investigative Services
    • PRS40598 - Certificate IV in Security (Risk Management)
    • PRS50298 - Diploma of Security (Risk Management)
    • PRS60198 - Advanced Diploma of Security (Risk Management)
  • Security Operations
    • CPP10107 - Certificate I in Security Operations
    • CPP20207 - Certificate II in Security Operations
    • CPP20211 - Certificate II in Security Operations
    • CPP20212 - Certificate II in Security Operations
    • CPP20218 - Certificate II in Security Operations
    • CPP30407 - Certificate III in Security Operations
    • CPP30411 - Certificate III in Security Operations
    • CPP31318 - Certificate III in Security Operations
    • CPP31418 - Certificate III in Close Protection Operations
    • PRS20103 - Certificate II in Security Operations
    • PRS30103 - Certificate III in Security Operations
  • Technical Security
    • CPP20307 - Certificate II in Technical Security
    • CPP30507 - Certificate III in Technical Security.

This includes superseded qualifications and training packages.

Data covers a range of selected student and training characteristics in the following categories and years:

  • 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 program enrolments
  • 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 program completions.

Total VET students and courses data is reported for the calendar year. Program enrolments are the qualifications, courses and skill sets in which students are enrolled in a given period. For students enrolled in multiple programs, all programs are counted. Program completion indicates that a student has completed a structured and integrated program of education or training. Location data uses student residence. Subject enrolment is registration of a student at a training delivery location for the purpose of undertaking a module, unit of competency or subject. For more information on the terms and definitions, please refer to the Total VET students and courses: terms and definitions document. 

Low counts (less than 5) are not reported to protect client confidentiality.

Percentages are rounded to one decimal place. This can lead to situations where the total sum of proportions in a chart may not add up to exactly 100%.

CPP Property Services Training Package apprentice and trainee data has been extracted from the National Apprentice and Trainee Collection, including:

  • 2010 to 2018 commencements
  • 2010 to 2018 completions 
  • 2018 apprentices and trainees in-training October to December 2018 collection, by qualification and state and territory of data submitter.

Priority skills data have been extracted from the Property Services IRC’s 2019 Skills Forecast.

Job vacancy data have been extracted from Burning Glass Technologies 2019, Labour Insight Real-time Labour Market Information Tool, Burning Glass Technologies, Boston, viewed July 2019,

Data shown represent most requested generic skills, occupations and employers according to internet job postings in Australia between July 2016 and June 2019 filtered by ANZSIC and ANZSCO classification levels listed below.

  • Generic skills / Occupations
    • ANZSCO major groups excluding Sale Workers
    • 7712 Investigation and Security Services
  • Employers
    • 4422 Security Officers and Guards
    • 2631 Computer Network Professionals
    • 2621 Database and Systems Administrators, and ICT Security Specialists
    • 3233 Precision Metal Trades Workers
    • 2343 Environmental Scientists
    • 7712 Investigation and Security Services, Excluding Sale Workers.
Updated: 02 Apr 2020
To Top