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Security and Investigation

Overview

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.

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

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 overall between 2001 and 2021, with peaks in 2013 and 2018 an overall high of around 65,000 in 2019. In 2020 employment levels decreased to approximately 59,100, declining again in 2021 to 54,600. Employment for this occupation is projected to increase to around 72,300 by 2025. More than half (58%) of workers in the Investigation and Security Services industry are Security Officers and Guards, and this occupation also has the highest projected employment increase to 2025 at almost 10%.

Training trends

Training snapshot

Program enrolments and completions in Security and Investigation-related qualifications both decreased overall between 2016 and 2020, with completions showing small rises in 2017 and 2019. There were approximately 20,950 enrolments in this sector in 2020, a decline of 20% from the previous year. There were approximately 16,720 completions in 2020, a decline of 13% from 2019.

The majority of enrolments in this sector in 2020 were at the certificate II level (81%), followed by certificate III (13%), and were in the area of security operations (90%). Over half (55%) of all students enrolling in this sector in 2020 had an intended occupation of Security Officer, followed by Security Officers and Guards (34%). Enrolments during this period were overwhelmingly at private training providers (97%) and were most often funded though domestic fee-for-service arrangements (60%) or through Commonwealth and state (30%).

The largest proportion of students enrolled in this sector in 2020 were from Victoria (31%) followed by Queensland (20%) and New South Wales (14%). Almost 37% of training was delivered in Victoria, followed by Queensland (27%), and New South Wales and Western Australia at 12%.

Apprentice and trainee commencements fell from a peak of around 500 in 2011 to approximately 140 in 2013, remaining relatively stable before rising to 190 in 2017 and falling to 100 in 2018. Commencements have declined almost three quarters (72%) since 2018, falling to approximately 30 in 2020. Completions fluctuated but fell 85% overall, from 230 in 2011 to approximately 40 in 2020, peaking at approximately 240 in 2013. Apprentices and trainees in training in 2020 in this sector had intended occupation of Security Officer, with the largest proportion of apprentices and trainees reported by Western Australia (62%), followed by Tasmania (16%) and the Australian Capital Territory (11%).

For more data specific to your occupation, industry or training package, visit NCVER’s Data Builder.

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 Security and Investigation 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
  • Detail orientated
  • Building effective relationships.

Additionally, the job vacancy data identifies the following occupations as most in-demand for this sector: Security Officer, Computer Network and Systems Engineer, ICT Security Specialist, Sales and Marketing Manager, and Locksmith. The top employers for the sector include MSS Security, Australian Government, Assetlink, Airbus Group, Perspecta and Doordash.

The Property Services 2020 Skills Forecast predicts the Security and Investigation sector will be impacted by technology changes and the challenges of integrating security technologies within a digital environment. This was supported by the 2019 Skills Forecast which identified consumer demand and the adoption of new technologies as key drivers for change in this sector. Security services business rely on the Internet of Things (IoT) and smart technologies to provide home security solutions and home energy management services. Increasing urbanisation is also expected to increase the need for home security systems and security services.

The Property Services IRC’s Skills Forecast 2017 identified impacts of technological advancements on the Security and Investigation labour force. Given the use of tools such as computerised central alarm systems and security camera monitoring systems are now widespread, this reduces the need for labour in this sector, and increases the need for workers who can operate these technologies.

Related to this is the cyber security project recently completed (led by PwC’s Skills for Australia) which was identified as relevant in the Property Services IRC’s 2018 Skills Forecast. This project centres around the development of vocational training in cyber security skills that can be transferable across multiple industries. This has a bearing on the security services offered by this sector, with a need to understand how emerging cyber security concerns relate to the Property Services industry.

Other areas of skills need in this sector relate to 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. According to the Property Services IRC’s 2018 Skills Forecast, 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 in this sector. While those operating in Security and Investigation 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 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.

The Australian Parliamentary Joint Committee on Law Enforcement recently released its report on the potential development and introduction of an Australian Standard in relation to the training and use of privately contracted security and detection dogs. Currently, there is no agreed national standard against which private security canine detection service providers are held. The committee agreed that the introduction of a national standard for privately operated canine detection and security services could facilitate a number of improvements, including the performance and operation of security detection canine teams and the quality of clearances provided.

COVID-19 impact

The Artibus Innovations article Property Services: Skilling and Reskilling during COVID-19 Pandemic identifies that some security industry workers have transitioned from managing crowded spaces to working in essential service spaces such as hospitals or supermarkets. This has helped to moderate potential job losses in this industry due to the pandemic. Artibus Innovation  also noted in a news announcement that the transition period for new Class 2A (security Consultant) security licensing requirements in New South Wales has also been extended due to COVID-19.

The ASIAL Security Industry Licensing Report 2021 shows an increase of almost 4% in the number of licensed individual security personnel in the 12 months to December 2020, with the overall number of security firms/Master Licence holders falling slightly over the year. Throughout this time the security industry has continued to perform a vital frontline role in helping keep the community safe and secure, demonstrating their resourcefulness and innovation in responding rapidly to changing customer needs.

According to the ACFIPS Annual Report despite major challenges for security industry employers meeting the challenges of COVID 19, there were some positive trends which emerged in NSW over the financial year to June 2021. This included the approval of a new CPP training package and more flexibility in regard to modes of training, and the addition of Security Operations on the eligibility list for government funding.

Links and resources

Below is a list of industry-relevant research, organisations and associations. Hyperlinks have been included where available.

IRC and skills forecasts

Property Services Industry Reference Committee

 

Relevant research

 

ACFIPS Annual Report Year ended 30 June 2021 - Arts, Communications, Finance Industries and Property Services Limited

An Australian Standard for the training and use of privately contracted security and detection dogs - Australian Parliamentary Joint Committee on Law Enforcement

ASIAL Security Industry Licensing Report 2021 - Australian Security Industry Association Limited (ASIAL)

Cyber Security Cross-Sector Project Case for endorsement  - PwC’s Skills for Australia

Property Services: Skilling and Reskilling during COVID-19 Pandemic - Artibus Innovation

The Security Licensing & Enforcement Directorate (SLED) has determined new competency requirements for Class 2A (Security Consultant) licences for NSW - Artibus Innovation

Training in security programs in Australia - Australian Skills Quality Authority

 

Industry associations and advisory bodies

Australian Federal Police

Australian Security Industry Association Limited (ASIAL)

Building Service Contractors Association of Australia

International Association for Healthcare Security and Safety

Security Providers Association of Australia

 

Employee associations

Professionals Australia

United Workers Union

Data sources and notes

Department of Employment 2021, Employment Projections, available from the Labour Market Information Portal

  • by ANZSCO, selected occupations, employment projections to May 2025
    • 3233 Precision Metal Trades Workers
    • 3423 Electronics Trades Workers
    • 4422 Security Officers and Guards.

Australian Bureau of Statistics 2021, 6291.0.55.001 - EQ08 - Employed persons by Occupation unit group of main job (ANZSCO), Sex, State and Territory, August 1986 onwards, viewed 1 August 2021, https://www.abs.gov.au/statistics/labour/employment-and-unemployment/labour-force-australia-detailed/may-2021

  • Employed total by ANZSCO 4422 Security Officers and Guards, 2001 to 2021, 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
    • CPP30619 - Certificate III in Investigative Services
    • PRS30303 - Certificate III in Investigative Services.
  • Security and Risk Management
    • CPP40707 - Certificate IV in Security and Risk Management
    • CPP40719 - Certificate IV in Security Management
    • CPP41519 - Certificate IV in Security Risk Analysis
    • CPP50607 - Diploma of Security and Risk Management
    • CPP50611 - Diploma of Security and Risk Management
    • CPP50619 - Diploma of Security 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
    • CPP20319 - 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:

  • 2016 to 2020 program enrolments
  • 2016 to 2020 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:

  • 2011 to 2020 commencements
  • 2011 to 2020 completions
  • apprentices and trainees in-training October to December 2020 collection, by qualification and state and territory of data submitter.

Job vacancy data have been extracted from Burning Glass Technologies 2021, Labour Insight Real-time Labour Market Information Tool, Burning Glass Technologies, Boston, viewed July 2021, https://www.burning-glass.com.

Data shown represent most requested generic skills, occupations and employers according to internet job postings in Australia between July 2018 and June 2021 filtered by ANZSIC and ANZSCO classification levels listed below.

  • Generic skills / Occupations
    • ANZSCO major groups excluding Sale Workers
    • 7712 Investigation and Security Services.
  • Employers
    • 442217 Security Officer
    • 263111 Computer Network and Systems Engineer
    • 262112 ICT Security Specialist
    • 131112 Sales and Marketing Manager
    • 323313 Locksmith
    • 7712 Investigation and Security Services.
Updated: 20 Jan 2022
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