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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 and the Property Services IRC’s 2020 Skills Forecast.

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

IRC and skills forecasts

IRCs now submit comprehensive Skills Forecasts to the AISC every 3 years, with abridged annual updates submitted in the intervening 2 years.

Property Services Industry Reference Committee

Employment trends

Please note: any employment projections outlined below were calculated by the Australian Bureau of Statistics prior to COVID-19.

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 around 65,000 in 2019. In 2020 employment levels decreased to approximately 59,900. 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 2019, with completions showing a small rise in 2017 and 2019. There were just under 26,020 enrolments in this sector in 2019, and almost 18,750 completions. Nearly all enrolments in this sector in 2019 were either at the certificate II (around 16,540) or certificate III (around 8,330) levels and were in the area of security operations (just under 24,250). Nearly all students enrolling in this sector in 2019 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 (60%). The largest proportion of students enrolled in this sector in 2019 were from Victoria (30%) followed by Queensland (24%) and New South Wales (16%).

Approximately one third of training was delivered in Victoria (34%), followed by Queensland (30%) and New South Wales (15%).

Apprentice and trainee commencements fell from a peak of around 500 in 2011 to under 140 in 2013, remaining relatively stable until 2016 before rising to 185 in 2017 and falling to just over 50 in 2019. Completions fell overall from 160 in 2010 to under 60 in 2019, peaking at over 240 in 2013y. The majority of apprentices and trainees in training in 2019 in this sector had intended occupations of Security Officers and Guards, with a small quantity having the intended occupation of Electrical or Telecommunications Trades Assistant. Almost all apprentices and trainees in this sector were reported by Victoria (48%), Tasmania (37%) or New South Wales (7%).

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.

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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
  • Building effective relationships
  • Writing.


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

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.

Links and resources

Data sources and notes

Department of Employment 2020, Employment Projections, available from the Labour Market Information Portal

  • by ANZSCO, selected occupations, employment projections to May 2024
    • 3233 Precision Metal Trades Workers
    • 3423 Electronics Trades Workers
    • 4422 Security Officers and Guards.

Australian Bureau of Statistics 2019, Employed persons by Occupation unit group of main job (ANZSCO), Sex, State and Territory, August 1986 onwards, 6291.0.55.003 - EQ08, viewed 1 August 2020

  • Employed total by ANZSCO 4422 Security Officers and Guards, 2000 to 2020, 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: 05 Nov 2020
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