LAST EDIT June 12, 2023
A Security Job at Allied Universal: Opportunity or Trap?
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Perhaps the easiest way to land a job in security is with Allied Universal, a titan in the American private security space. They're almost guaranteed to be hiring in your area. They need officers, and they will likely hire you. So, the question is: should you opt for the quick, accessible, assured position? Or should you hold out for another security company?
Not long ago, Time Magazine published a sensationalized article on Allied Universal. Despite the considerable resources of such a renowned publication, the article did little more than affirm what many in the security industry already know: Allied Universal is a massive corporation with numerous corporate contracts. They readily fill their ranks with personnel, often limiting these individuals' ability to perform tasks that resemble actual security work.
It's a fair point, but hardly groundbreaking news.
Working at Allied Universal often embodies the challenges of working for a large corporation. You navigate a jumble of manuals, guidelines, and corporate communiqués known as "Field Operations Directives." These documents are likely crafted in environments far removed from the realities of day-to-day security work and are likely the product of corporate executives, lawyers, and finance professionals hashing out directives in office buildings, often lacking a practical, real-world perspective.
Though Allied may not be the most egregious offender, they, too, participate in corporate virtue signaling, which can consume significant financial resources. These expenses have to be offset somehow—could your paycheck be the compromise? This disconnect can widen and alienate, especially as Allied serves clients who often share the same corporate mindset, further impacting the bottom line.
This can lead to regrettable incidents like last year's at Temple University—a dangerously escalating situation where security was reportedly discouraged from intervening, apparently even to save a life. Allied officers were reportedly forced to stand by as a mob attacked an older individual, helplessly watching as a pair of young girls, possibly teenagers, rushed to his aid. This is a stark example of how over-corporatized, micro-managed policy can adversely affect on-the-ground operations.
Additionally, the expansive, cold corporate culture can dampen employees' motivation to take pride in and ownership of their work. You are likely to find that fellow officers will be neglectful, frequently calling in sick or even failing to show up entirely. Others may exploit their positions to become 'TikTok officers,' attempting to go viral by showcasing their job's perceived lack of responsibilities. This disheartening culture can easily permeate your own work ethic, and as word continues to spread, having Allied Universal on your resume might harm your chances of winning employment elsewhere, as a true security professional.
While it's not fair to generalize, and there are undoubtedly many posts where the local supervisor maintains a positive culture, the straightforward answer is this: if you have other options offering similar or better pay, it's worth exploring those first. For instance, consider seeking opportunities with a local agency, one that hasn't been heavily corporatized and still retains common sense in its company culture.
However, if you find that other options are scarce, here's some valuable advice on how to turn working at Allied Universal to your advantage.
Firstly, seize the opportunity to gain as much experience as possible. Allied Universal, being a large company, frequently offers exposure to an array of security client contracts and scenarios in your local area. Harness this experience to fortify your resume and develop a diverse skill set. For instance, complete all of Allied's EDGE courses. You can post your EDGE certificates to your Security Officer Network portfolio and resume. If communicated strategically, this could impress future employers and clients if you eventually start your own security agency or consulting firm.
Secondly, learn about the industry from the inside out. Observing both the positives and negatives of working for a major security company can deepen your understanding of the industry's complexities. You may gain insights about the kind of security work you'd prefer to do in the future or even identify practices you'd like to change or improve. For instance, check out The Security Officer Network's sample white paper for an example of how a security officer leveraged his corporate assignment to begin building a career as a security entrepreneur by writing up consultancy white paper. Your presence at corporate sites can actually be a career-building opportunity, as long as you stay intellectually curious and avoid the complacency that often permeates the culture of large corporate post assignments.
Lastly, use this experience to expand your professional network. While the company culture might not always be ideal, it could actually work to your advantage. For example, the scheduling challenges often faced by large corporations mean that you're likely to be assigned to various posts all across town. This provides an opportunity to learn about the security contracts from all over town, the clients who sign those contracts, and this essentially grants you an insider's view of the industry. This will be invaluable in the future should you decide to start your own agency. For more on starting an agency and why you should consider it, refer to the book 'How to Start a Security Guard Agency' from The Security Officer Network. You can find it on Amazon or get a free PDF from securityofficerhq.com.
And, as a bonus, the relationship you build with the local Allied office can be a big help to you after you start your agency. Allied gets many requests for work and there are likely to be times when they are required to sub-contract that work out to other companies, including your new security agency. So, keep on good terms with everyone in the local Allied office!
Here's a good path to starting your own agency by first working for Allied: quickly work up the chain of command to post supervisor. This shouldn't be too hard given the overwhelming demand and likely high turnover in the agency. This will allow you access to EDGE's leadership training courses, and better still, it will give you the supervisory experience that your state might require before granting you a security agency license.
In summary, if you decide to work for Allied Universal, do so with a clear goal and a career plan that allows you to move beyond Allied in due course. Avoid adopting the less admirable habits of less diligent security personnel, and don't let the corporate security environment dull your instincts. Remain intellectually curious, continue learning, complete all your EDGE core training modules, and take advantage of any additional resources Allied provides.
Remember, every job presents a unique set of challenges and opportunities. The key is to utilize these experiences to grow professionally, enhance your skills, and further your career goals.
And, of course, if you are wanting to become a true security professional, then join us at The Security Officer Network.com It's the home of the professional security officer. Your security officer transcript is the professional security officer's status symbol of choice and is sure to impress your future employers and clients.
We've really just scratched the surface of this subject matter. Would you like to see more videos on Allied? Have your or are you working for Allied? Did we get it right in this video? Let us know in the comments below.
That's it for now. Stay tuned, there's much more content like this on the way so be sure to like and subscribe to learn more.
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