The best security company to work for

Thinking about applying for a security guard job?

If you’re personable, in good health and have a keen eye for detail, a security job could be a really good fit for you.

Security guards have shared on Breakroom what it’s really like to work for the security companies they’re employed at.

Find out all about what it’s like to work at a security company.

We’re going to go through the best security companies to work for, as rated by real security guards.

Here’s what we’ll be covering:

Let’s start with the list. Here are the best rated security companies to work at.

The top 10 security guard employers

  1. ICTS: 7.4/10

  2. Wilson James: 7.0/10

  3. Mitie: 6.2/10

  4. Interserve: 5.9/10

  5. G4S: 5.9/10

  6. TSS: 5.8/10

  7. Olympian Security Services: 5.7/10

  8. Carlisle Support Services: 5.6/10

  9. Securitas: 5.6/10

  10. Corps Security: 5.5/10

Read on to find out more about life as working at a security company.

What jobs can you do in a security company?

Security guard or officer is often the first job you think of when hearing ‘security company’.

But the different types of security guard jobs are very varied.

In fact, there are many areas of security you can work in. These include:

  • Corporate security

  • Events security

  • Hotel security

  • Hospital security

  • Airport security

  • Retail security

  • Loss prevention

  • Industrial and construction security

  • Concierge security

  • Patrol security

  • Traffic Marshalls

  • Fire Marshalls

Each of these areas has a different focus and different priorities.

Let’s find out more about them.

What do you do as a security guard?

A security guard’s job is to make sure that people and property stay safe and secure. They can be put in charge of looking after a specific building or crowd control.

Tasks might include:

  • Watching CCTV

  • Protecting against theft

  • Managing crowd control

  • Monitoring entrances and exits

In terms of what your shifts will look like, you might be working:

  • Day shifts, night shifts or both

  • In one place, moving between different locations or both

  • On your own or with a team

How your security job is set up is largely down to the company you’ll work for and the type of security work you’ll be doing.

What skills do you need to be a security guard?

To be a security guard, you generally don’t need any specific qualifications.

You do, however, need to meet the following requirements if your security job involves looking after people:

Some of these requirements may be needed for other security jobs. It all depends on the company and what tasks you’ll be doing.

What’s the best thing about being a security guard?

When asked what was the best thing about their job, security guards shared the following:

‘The team I work with is great’

‘People I work with’

‘Friendly staff’

‘The camaraderie (team mate on same shift)’

‘The other security officers are good people’

Liking your teammates is one of the most common best bits that security guards have shared about their jobs.

It looks like security jobs are great for team culture.

So if you’re looking for a job that’s sociable, security work may be something to seriously consider.

How much do security guards get paid in the UK?

Now we’ve seen what you do as a security guard, let’s shift gears and talk about something very important: pay.

We looked at the pay rates for employers that have 10+ responses from security guards.

This is what we found:

Employer 25% workers earn this or less 50% workers earn this or less 75% workers earn this or less
Heathrow Airport £14.04 £14.69 £14.69
Mitie Security £9.00 £9.21 £9.86
G4S £8.72 £9.00 £9.79

There is a lot of variation in pay with different security guard employers.

For instance, G4S pay rates at least 50% less than Heathrow security pay rates.

Whilst the kind of security work at Heathrow is probably more specialist, the difference in pay is still significant.

25% of security workers at G4S and Mitie earn below the Real Living Wage. As of 2020, this is £9.30 across the UK, and £10.75 in London.

It’s definitely worth having a look at the pay rates of different security jobs, as some pay much more than others.

Are security guards paid for extra work?

We’ve seen that security guard pay isn’t consistent.

So let’s delve a little deeper into the topic of security guard pay, and see if there are any other patterns.

Security guards shared the following when asked if they get paid for any extra work they do outside of their contracted hours.

83% of security guards don't get paid for doing extra work

The vast majority shared that they do not get paid for extra work.

All workers, including security guards, should get paid for all the work they do.

This includes if they work more hours than they are contracted to.

How many hours do security guards work?

As you’ve seen, security guards don’t typically get paid for any extra work they do.

But how many hours are they generally working? Here’s what they shared.

Hours worked % security workers working these hours
Under 16 2%
16-34 11%
35 or more 86%

The vast majority of security guards work 35 hours or more a week.

A lot of security guards shared that the worst thing about their jobs was the amount of hours they had to work (particularly if they work long shifts).

Here are some examples:

‘Working x4 12 hour shifts’

‘12 hour shifts, days and nights’

‘12 hours and no break cover’

‘60 hours a week’

‘Long shifts and static position’

It’s not surprising that many security guards have said that long shifts are difficult.

Consistently working long shifts is very tiring. And for a job that requires being alert to potential security risks, this is understandably a lot to take on.

Is being a security guard stressful?

As we’ve seen, it’s common for security guards to work long shifts. It’s fair to say that this could be quite stressful.

So we looked further into how stressful a security guard job might be.

Firstly, let’s look at how many security guards have shared that their job is stressful.

55% of security guards reported being stressed at work

Over half of security guards shared that their job was stressful. Let’s look at the reasons why.

Do security guards get proper breaks?

With such long shifts, it’s important that security guards are able to take proper breaks during their shifts.

So we looked at how many security guards shared that they were able to take proper breaks.

59% of security guards get to take proper breaks

The good news is that close to 60% of security guards are able to take proper breaks. However, it seems that even with proper breaks, the long hours are still a bit too much.

Let’s look at some other reasons that can cause stress in a security job.

Do security guards get proper sick pay?

Knowing how much money you have coming in regularly is important. This allows you to meet your financial commitments and help you plan for the future.

However, if you become ill, this can sometimes make financial planning harder.

Security guards shared whether they get proper sick pay when they need to take time off work. Here’s what we found out:

70% of security guards don't get sick pay

Unfortunately, the vast majority of security guards don’t get proper sick pay.

This can be very stressful. No one can help getting unwell. And not getting proper sick pay makes having to take time off work much more difficult.

What is management at security companies like?

When looking at what security guards shared about their jobs, we noticed that there were quite a few patterns.

One of these patterns was that a lot of security guards said that the management at the company that they worked for was the worst thing about their job.

Here are some examples:

‘Stressing out because not enough help from management when you need it’

‘Lack of management and professionalism’

‘Managers not interested in employees’

‘Weak management’

It looks like a lot of security guards feel like they’re not supported by security company management.

This can be very stressful. Not feeling supported at work can make it very difficult.

The Breakroom verdict on jobs at security companies

Security guard jobs are great for people who are comfortable with people, good at paying attention to detail and have quick decision making skills.

Security guards are important in keeping people and places safe.

And the companies that hire them can do a lot to improve.

Here’s what they can do to give their Breakroom rating a boost:

  • Consistently pay in line with the Real Living Wage

  • Make shifts shorter and more regular

  • Provide more support from management

  • Offer proper sick pay

If you’re interested in becoming a security guard, have a look around at different security companies.

Some offer better pay and conditions than others, so it’s worth investigating these so you can find the best security job for you.

The data used here is from 20 August 2020

Published on 22 September 2020