This is very simple and to the point, yet I find a lot of people don’t know it.
Yes, we know that most security guards are useless, lazy, slackers, and you sure as hell should not feel safer because they are around. Why is this?
Simple. Employers get what they pay for. I worked unarmed security for 2.5 years, and allow me to reaffirm for you–no, unarmed guards do not make you safer. Is it an entry level job? Definitely. It is also a position people put through some misery, and expect a lot from.
Let’s see pricing. You may have heard of the shooting at the Kennesaw Fedex in 2014. An angry ex employee went back to work with a shotgun loaded with birdshot and shot some people. I had the joy of working there in security! What was the going rate? For guards, $9.74 an hour. That’s right, Mr. Sparkman got shot in the gut with a shotgun for $9.74 an hour. Supervisors made $11.40 an hour. The grand site supervisor, made $15 an hour. To top it off, guards after the shooting were specifically forbidden from buying and wearing their own concealed kevlar vests. I know, because I asked. To add to that joy, call outs and no shows meant that your 8 hour shift could and would often turn into a 12 or 16 hour shift, as leaving your post without proper relief was forbidden.
Walden Security pays a flat $10 an hour for unarmed guards. Higher for armed, but the armed security work around Atlanta is usually smaller companies, not the major firms that earn their bread off unarmed guards. Armored car, which is not just miserable and constant driving, but also dangerous–they work in two man teams, meaning that the lone bagman going to get the cash is an easy target–get $12 an hour or $12.45. I know, I’ve interviewed and applied.
How does that compare? Well, my resume finally caught proper attention December 2015, and I managed to get a Data Entry job, as a temp. Sitting in a nice office building right off Chastain Road, a few miles away from the Kennesaw Fedex, with a stocked break room, and work that wasn’t actually harder than a typical college course. My wages? $12 an hour. That’s right. At an entry level job that officially required no license, no training courses, and just a high school diploma, I was earning as much as armed guards, with their risk of death, and licensing/training requirements.
And that, is why the 27th is my last day for Walden Security. People want guards to perform, be alert, vigilant, even check out burglar alarms despite being unarmed in my case–yet the pay is low. The simple reality is that everyone with the skills and/or drive to perform, will work to find a better job that pays a decent wage. When your industry’s pay for a high risk, regulated and licensed position like armored car is the same as a safe, entry level job doing data entry–you’re in a spiral to the bottom, and talent will not stay with you for long. Unless we were in a major depression, it simply wouldn’t make sense if talented, hard working people willingly stayed in high risk, high responsibility, low pay positions. If security companies want to end their constant staffing shortage, and clients want guards who will take pride in their job and work hard, they need to pay a way comparable for what they ask of their employees. Then, they will be able to have standards about their employees.