A place for old men?

February 2017 News

I received an interesting email from someone in the industry recently lamenting the lack of young people involved in the security world. The individual was concerned that the vast majority of the people involved in security associations and leading security teams and/or companies were way over 40 years old – most of them over the 50 mark.

So where are the young people these days? The security industry is an enormous employer in South Africa, but are all the companies and associations really populated and run by older people?

It stands to reason that before becoming involved in associations and companies, someone would need to gain some experience in the industry. But wouldn’t networking and being involved in the background activities of the industry give younger people more options in terms of expanding their horizons?

Is it perhaps that physical security isn’t the cool place to be? While there are good margins to be made in certain areas, other areas are fiercely competitive with tight margins unless you are willing to cheat your employees and customers. Is that the reason for the lack of younger industry leaders – there’s more money in other industries or sectors?

Could the problem be that there are younger people getting involved, but they see no benefit in becoming part of industry associations because they feel there is no real value to them at the end of the day? There are some associations that exist for the sake of existing, but there are also many that are focused on their sector of the market, or the market as a whole and are working to improve the industry, the service it delivers and its overall image.

As we have seen on many occasions, the industry needs associations to set the standards and speak to government to ensure everyone gets a fair deal. Without them, those who work in security and those who rely on their services and support will find themselves constantly neglected or taken advantage of by unscrupulous operators.

PSiRA will be embarking on a transformation drive during this year and the industry needs to be able to engage and find common ground. One company can’t do it alone and we therefore need organisations and associations that fairly represent the industry and its various segments.

Relying on the benefit that security is a must-have in South Africa and therefore a grudge purchase only results in price wars and poor service. If the customer does not see the value in spending money they will always opt for the cheapest quote – just look at the CCTV industry for proof of this.

It’s only by everyone working together that the industry can improve its image by ensuring standards in skills and services. So what is the route to getting more people, and the younger generations specifically, involved beyond their own jobs or businesses? The industry needs the experience of the old and the passion and vision of the young to move everyone forward.

Andrew Seldon



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