Access All Areas December 2021 - Page 44

WINTER 21 / 22 | FEATURE

the hazards of the job have become mainstream news and have surely led to a decline in the number of people signing up for a career in events security . But according to the Security Industry Authority ( SIA ) the reality is very different .
“ We are aware that some operators and security suppliers are encountering difficulty in attracting security operatives to work as door supervisors ,” an SIA spokesperson told Access . “ Data from our licensing system shows that the number of door supervisor licences and licence applications is the highest it has been in the last 10 years and the number of people undertaking the training required in order to apply for a licence remains healthy .”
While that is encouraging it is not , at least initially , guaranteed good news for the events industry as those trained staff will not only be spread across the events sector but areas such as hospitality and retail . The new staff will also meet demand for roles that have been created during the pandemic at sites such as testing centres . When the pandemic finally subsides , it is hoped that those security personnel will look for a career in the events industry .
Solving the puzzle Doom and gloom may be in high supply when it comes to considering crew numbers going into next year , but surely there is a way the industry can solve the probem . It ’ s one thing to wait for crew to return naturally , as roles in testing centres dry up , but what can the industry do to actively force the issue ?
One suggested avenue is to make jobs more attractive for prospective employees , something industry body SIA appears to be promoting . It says , “ We appreciate that , like other sectors of the economy that recruit lower wage roles , security companies and buyers may be finding it challenging to recruit licence holders . However , we believe that it is the responsibility of employers to take steps to make these roles attractive so as to encourage people to apply for these roles .”
However , with events , especially festivals , often being run on very fine margins it is not always possible to simply up wages , there are practical realities preventing it .
Technology on the other hand is playing a big role in events today , away from hybrid events , technology such as e-ticketing and facial recognition software is revolutionising the way events are operated .
Major says , “ The industry is on the edge of its ‘ Facebook moment ’, similar to what Amazon did to the high street , there ’ s going to be an amalgamation of all sorts of new technologies that , by 2025 , will fundamentally change the face of the industry .”
So , is technology the answer ? The be all and end all ? It ’ s too soon to say , but with many industry spokespeople holding out hope that the pool of events crew will naturally fill back up , Major ’ s predicted ‘ Facebook moment ’ could be some way off .
Frontline view
Herongrange Group MD Steve Withers provides his perspective of security personnel shortage and what can and should be done to resolve it .
“ I truly believe this is a case of supply and demand . At Herongrange we want to recruit experienced security industry professionals and this pool is definitely getting smaller .
“ What we face when working in the events industry is a disconnect between what event organisers are prepared to pay for , versus what service their patrons deserve . If we look at some recent disasters at events including the Arianna Grande concert at Manchester Arena and Astroworld in the US – there were young , unskilled workers expected to secure huge events , with huge numbers of patrons . This is completely unacceptable .
“ It is the events industry that needs to set the stall out that says ‘ we want security professionals working on our event that are , for example , SIA accredited with x number of years ’ experience ’ – then in turn the security company that is supplying the security professionals needs to detail on their quotes exactly who will be at each event , with their qualifications and biometric screening information and the event organisers need to match that up on the day to ensure they are getting those experienced professionals that were quoted for . Often what happens is a security company will say they are supplying experienced professionals and , on the day , will send in young , untrained personnel that have been recruited on Facebook that essentially just want to work at the event to watch the gig for free .
“ If the events industry starts requesting more skilled security professionals , young people will begin to see this is a viable , valued profession to have and accordingly will see the events industry as a place to have a respected career .”
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