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How to Retain Employees in the Security Industry

Employee retention is a challenge for all companies no matter what the industry. However, the security industry, in particular, bears the brunt of trying to retain staff. In fact, the national annual turnover rate of a private security company is estimated to be over 100%.   In this blog post, we break down why retaining security […]

Employee retention is a challenge for all companies no matter what the industry. However, the security industry, in particular, bears the brunt of trying to retain staff. In fact, the national annual turnover rate of a private security company is estimated to be over 100%.  

In this blog post, we break down why retaining security employees is so difficult. We also look at what can be done to retain your good security workers.  

Why is there a high turnover rate among security staff? 

Firstly, let’s take a look at why there is such a high turnover within the security industry.  

1. Wages: 

Compared to other industries, the wages within the security industry are regarded to be quite low. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average security guard in 2020 was earning $31,080 per year or approximately $14.94 per hour. With all things considered this isn’t a lot of disposable income when someone has a family to care for and bills to pay. A higher minimum wage rate for security employees may see more skilled workers within the industry and a rise in retention rates. 

2. Benefits: 

A good benefits scheme is hard to come by within the security industry. Employees can’t make commission or may not be entitled to health, dental and vision benefits like workers in other industries. When employees feel they aren’t being rewarded fairly, they are less likely to be loyal to a company. If another company has a better offering in terms of benefits security employees won’t have a problem switching to work for a competitor if it promises them a better deal.  

3. Leadership: 

Different companies will differ in terms of their leadership styles. However, without effective leadership from management to assist employees with their training, scheduling and performance, teams will suffer. Strong leadership maintains a high-performing team and will encourage employee engagement and retention. This has been proven time and time again. In fact in the Tech ScaleUps 2019 Retention Report, 100% of respondents claimed that leadership is a key factor in impacting employee retention.   

4. Professional Development: 

No clear progression path will make workers start to feel stuck in a rut in their current role. Employees will start to look elsewhere for positions that better match their experience and where they can progress. You can’t blame an employee for seeking a new position that is more rewarding for them. Employees are more likely to stay at a company when there is clear career progression.  If there are no next steps for them to take they may leave for another company.   

What are the effects of high turnover in the security industry?  

Increased risk 

A high turnover in the security industry leads to increased risk for your organization and your client. When there is a constant influx of new workers it means they won’t have had all the right experience and training to do their job effectively yet. We know new workers make mistakes. So, it’s important to have some veteran staff to show the newcomers how it’s done.  

Increased cost of operation 

Replacing employees comes with a high cost. You need to take into consideration interviewing costs, hiring costs, advertising, training and the drop in revenue due to loss of productivity. The cost of replacing an employee can range from 25-200% of the employee’s annual salary. For example, a 30% estimate on an employee’s salary of $22,000 would results in $6,600 turnover cost for your business.  

Difficulty providing service 

High employee turnover within your organization can mean gaps in your workforce. It can take a long time to replace an employee and have them trained up. The loss of a veteran employee to a newcomer means the new employee is simply not as knowledgeable and therefore not as productive. Being short-staffed leads to a drop in the standard of your service. It might also mean difficulty providing the service at all. This will negatively impact your client’s perception of your organization and limit future opportunities. 

Here’s 5 ways to retain your security workers 


Effective recruitment is vital to ensure the security workers you hire are a good fit for the organization. A key reason why workers leave a company is that they are not aligned with the company culture as mentioned above. Make sure the job spec you are posting is crystal clear as to what the job responsibilities are. Include a piece on the company culture and what requirements are needed. Ensure you are hiring the best person for the role, based not just on their resume but their personality too.  

Recognition for employees 

It’s the little things that can often mean the most in terms of recognition for your teams. Recognizing your teams work can make all the difference in their engagement, motivation levels and happiness at work. Simple things like employee recognition rewards such as employee of the month or celebrating years of service is a great way to improve loyalty to the company.  

Career Progression 

Employees don’t just take their salary into account these days but also their career development. You should provide education and training opportunities to allow employees to advance within the company. Create new positions where possible so employees can make the best use of their abilities and skills. You can help employees train up by offering a subsidy to cover the costs of courses and training. This investment will pay off for the employee and your organization too.  

Flexible Working Hours 

Hours can be long and unsociable within the security industry. You should provide employees with flexible working options where they can choose the shifts they wish to work. Celayix Mobile is our mobile app whereby workers can log on and self-schedule or bid on the shifts they want. These shifts are uploaded by a scheduler and you can include set business rules to ensure only qualified employees can work them. To retain your security workers give them control over their own schedule and it will further improve engagement and work-life balance.  

Improve Benefits 

As mentioned previously, the security industry isn’t renowned for its benefits or wages. Even if your organization can’t afford to increase wages you can offer other things that will make your company more desirable. You can improve your benefits scheme as this will be an attraction for workers to join your company and stay at it. Having a good benefits scheme in place makes it harder for workers to walk away.  

Here are some examples of benefits you can easily improve: 

  • Cover the cost of the security guard uniforms for employees when they start 
  •  Allow employees to work shifts close to home to avoid long commutes.  
  • Increase the amount of paid time off for your employees 
  • Flexible Schedules 
  • Annual bonuses 

Of course, other industries struggle with the trouble of retaining staff. However, we know the security industry sees a higher than average employee turnover rate. This is why it is critical to understand why this high turnover rate is happening within your organization and start taking the necessary steps to improve it.  


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