It borders almost to being a slave except that the domestic helps in Singapore have beaten them to that spot. At least that is what received wisdom says of security officers in the private sector, and also of maids.
The common perception that security officers are unskilled people who do little more than merely patrol streets and condominium blocks, now lies at steps to upgrade them to service professionals deserving of the reward and compensation that comes with being a security officer.
Patrolling a street or some sensitive security is a special skill. It requires patience, endurance and above all an intense knack at investigating and presenting findings to the police, of assisting coroner inquiries in the event of misdemeanour such as the murder of a hotel guest in a hotel in Marina Square in 1994.
But this perception of a “dead-end job” is a stigma that will likely take time to change.
TwinRock Global’s Mr Thomas recalled in a Channel News Asia news bulletin of how he was booed by students at a local Institute of Technical Education (ITE) prior to a presentation about his company.
“At the start of the talk, I was booed. The students said: ‘Go home, lah. This is not something we are interested in’ almost immediately after I said I am from the security industry,” said the former lawyer who quit his job to take over the family business last year.
Now it is agreed that the Progressive Wage Model (PWM) implemented last year could help to attract new blood to the industry. A possible consideration is the prospect of sweetening employee benefits with performance-based bonuses and job rotations, and a more conducive work-life balance, suggested Mr Jeffrey Seah, head of the Security Industry Institute at Temasek Polytechnic.
As with everything else, TwinRock Global is moving towards, with newly-implemented benefits such as birthday leave and an additional monthly performance-based allowance for officers who meet its expectations. The company is also taking the PWM a step further, with its own progressive career paths.
“At our company, you can start off as a security officer, but we will give you training about fire safety, flying a drone, skills you need for close protection duties … and with these training, you can eventually become an instructor and start training new security officers,” Mr Thomas said.
With the onset of such job-focused skills aimed at upgrading the professionalism of the security industry, what was once cast in stone may take on a different tang.