LAST EDIT May 5, 2023
Question: How much should a security guard make per hour?
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With the help of the just-released US Department of Labor Report, we now know how much post-COVID-era inflation has increased the pay of security officers. We also have a bit of a hint of an answer to the concern, "Are robots replacing security officers?" And we even have an answer to the question, "How much more does a security guard make than a burger flipper?"
Are you getting paid the going rate for security? Is it time to start looking for a better-paying security job? Or, does it even matter? Is the latest security robot from ADT Commercial or Knightscope going to take your job from you? Would it be better to just put in an application at McDonald's?
So, before we start, a quick disclaimer. This is government data. Specifically, it's the United States Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics. This is the United States government, so in years past, this should mean that this is the gold standard, a sure or near-sure thing; but in recent years, especially in the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there has been controversy surrounding the integrity of economic data reporting. This decline in confidence wasn't helped when the Bureau delayed the release of the Occupational Employment and Wage Statistic Update. It was originally due in March but ended up being delayed for a month.
That said, it's still a vital data set for letting you know how much to expect when you go into security work. Or, perhaps you need to know if you are being underpaid and it's time to update your Security Officer Network transcript and get to looking for a new higher-paying assignment. Or, maybe you want to start a security agency and need to know how much to pay your officers.
Now, do keep in mind that government data lags by about one year, so this new number, though just reported, was actually measured back in May of 2022.
The last time we did one of these videos, it was 2020, and at that time, the most recent BLS report—from May of 2018—stated that the average security officer in the United States was making a median value of $13.70.
Now, five years later, according to the just-released numbers, that amount has risen to $16.71.
Ok, so while at first glance this 20% increase in cash sounds great, is it keeping up with skyrocketing inflation?
The answer is, yes, just barely. $13.70 in May of 2018 represents the same value as $16.44 in 2022. So if your security job matched the median, then you outpaced inflation by 27 cents per hour. Congratulations, you have outsmarted the Keynesian monetary fiends over at the Federal Reserve.
Also, remember that this is a nationwide average, so an officer in Louisiana shouldn't expect to be paid the same as one who works in New York City.
And, of course, pay is based on experience and capabilities, so an armed officer who has worked for 10 years should expect to be paid more than the median of $16.71, while an unarmed trainee who has yet to achieve state certification will likely earn a bit less than this amount.
One more comparison of note: How does working security compare to fast food? Fast food workers are paid a median salary of $13.43. So, by working security, you are working at a 24% premium to fast food—a much more stressful job.
Are robots replacing security?
The BLS data suggests that you don't have to worry too much about the robots—just yet. In our previous video, there were 1,114,380 security jobs reported; now, there are 1,124,890.
So, while the industry is undergoing automation, it's still growing in raw numbers, and that partially explains why so many security companies are anxious to hire. It's still an employee's market, and you shouldn't have any trouble picking and choosing the company and even the post that best fits your needs. If you need more pay, there's room to shop around; if you need an easy post, that's something you can negotiate for as well.
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