Violent crimes continue to threaten the safety of citizens in the UK. Despite concrete efforts at various levels, the UK police are struggling to overcome the waves of physical security risks. In these conditions, private security companies play a key role in filling the security vacuum and protecting people and premises.
As of August 2023, the UK has 429,088 SIA license holders, including 46,266 females and 38,2822 males. The main categories are door supervision, guarding, CCTV monitoring, close protection, cash and valuables in transit, and keyholding. Managing such a huge workforce is a challenging task. Security companies need to figure out key problems in their business models and take initiatives accordingly to handle rising security threats effectively.
Most importantly, employers should be familiar with the top trends shaping the security industry in 2023 and beyond. This article discusses those trends and gives guidelines for building future strategies to meet clients’ ever-evolving needs.
So, let’s explore the top 5 security industry trends for 2023.
A Quick Overview of the UK Security Industry
The UK security industry is a highly regulated sector in the UK. It employs over 429,088 security professionals across different roles, ages, genders, and nationalities. Besides, the industry has 838 SIA-approved contractors divided into four categories based on their number of employees. These include:
- Micro: Less than 11 employees
- Small: Less than 26 employees
- Medium: Fewer than 250 employees
- Large: 250 or more employees
Over the years, the security industry has contributed to the safety of the UK and played a significant role in economic development. The latest estimates reveal the UK security industry is expected to grow by 3.5% from 2022 to 2027. Rising crime rate, increased outsourcing of security services, and growing national security threats are key factors behind this growth.
Another unique aspect of the UK security industry is that it does not discriminate against people based on gender, age, or nationality. Individuals from more than 200 countries currently hold SIA licenses. The top 5 nationalities are:
- British: 257,385
- Pakistani: 40,925
- Indian: 19,489
- Nigerian: 14,626
- Italian: 9,894
Challenges Faced by the Security Companies in the UK
Most security companies in the UK are facing hiring and retention challenges. The biggest obstacle is the worker shortage that is hampering the client coverage and effectiveness of overall operations.
Here is the breakdown of common challenges in the UK security industry:
- Short of Skilled and Qualified Resources
- Increasing Demands and Responsibilities
- Changing Job Roles
- High Turnover Rates
- Mental Instability at the Workplace
- Difficulties in Employee Recruitment
- Rising Operational Costs
- Employee Safety Concerns
Top 5 Security Industry Trends for 2023
Every problem has various possible solutions. It’s up to employers to choose the best solution that can address their issues. For this purpose, they must stay updated with the latest trends and reorganize their operations accordingly to deliver better results.
Below are the top 5 trends shaping the UK security industry in 2023:
1. AI-powered Automation
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is making a strong presence across the global business community with each passing day. And the UK security industry has also started leveraging this technology for performance improvement. The AI-led digital transformation era will completely change how security companies operate, believe manned security experts.
In 2023 and the coming years, security companies will start using specialized tools to solve complex problems. AI-based analytics and video management systems (VMS) will make jobs easier for CCTV monitoring specialists. Instead of monitoring hundreds of cameras, they can use AI to focus on critical areas only.
Similarly, AI-powered Automation will empower security teams to detect suspicious activities more vigilantly. Automated biometric systems can restrict unauthorized entry by verifying the credentials of allowed persons. Hence, a more proactive safety and protection environment will be established with better results.
2. Security Convergence and Integration
The future security operations will be different from what we see today. The era of security convergence is finally arriving, where physical security will be integrated with network security. Recent advancements in IoT and similar technologies have made this convergence possible.
Security companies will equip themselves with digitally connected devices in the coming years. CCTV cameras, alarms, sensors, and access control systems will communicate. Security guards will wear digital security badges, sending information about their location to the system in real time. Managers will monitor their workforce sitting in their offices on a dashboard and take quick action.
As a result, converged and IoT-powered smart security networks will deliver extended protection and peace of mind.
3. Cybersecurity Awareness
Security convergence is a remarkable concept; however, it also has certain limitations. IoT systems are vulnerable to cybersecurity threats from unknown users. A minor data breach can badly affect the security company’s reputation and result in financial losses.
To address this challenge, employers will focus more on cybersecurity awareness. A class of technologically-informed security professionals would eventually emerge. The continued push towards secure networks and IT systems will create more job opportunities in the UK security industry. Similarly, companies will adopt zero trust practices, validating all transactions digitally.
It is, therefore, safe to say that future security companies will have better threat intelligence. Individuals with a good awareness of cybersecurity will be the top choice of employers.
4. Mobile-first Workplaces
According to an estimate, more than 200 million employees across the globe use mobile business apps to do their jobs. Not only workers but over 84% of decision-makers in key positions rely on digital technologies to reduce costs, drive innovation, and enhance customer satisfaction.
Using mobile apps in the security sector has brought a remarkable operational efficiency and reliability shift. Security supervisors can automate manual processes by using cloud-based workforce management apps. All tasks can be performed from a smartphone, from scheduling to leave management and time tracking to location access.
Conversely, security guards feel more secure and valued by working in mobile-first environments. They can instantly report workplace incidents, respond to automated welfare checks, and manage their work hours flexibly. Mobile apps are also being gradually expanded to other areas like communication, performance management, and CRM.
5. Contactless Security
Contactless security is a novel idea that become popular in the era of the covid-19 pandemic. It refers to using digital devices like biometric systems that do not involve physical interaction between individuals. The experience was amazing, so the security industry scaled it further.
Today, it has become more commonplace to use contactless security systems. Businesses across the UK are now deploying digital devices for biometric access. These devices verify IDs using iris scans and facial recognition before granting physical access to sensitive areas.
Simply put, digital ID verification devices will now replace security staff responsible for managing access control in the UK. Nevertheless, the need for human security officers won’t decline. Rather, their roles will be changed according to the changing needs of businesses.
If you are the manager or owner of a security company, you have to be proactive about the latest technology trends. Your security business can only excel by leveraging modern systems and training your staff accordingly.
Research shows that five trends will shape the future of the UK security industry in 2023 and beyond. These include AI-powered Automation, security convergence, cybersecurity awareness, mobile-first workplaces, and contactless security. Security companies should make future strategies considering these trends to stay ahead of their competitors.