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2014 Security Industry Demographic Census

While life is generally better for those owning and operating installing and monitoring security businesses than it was two years ago, it has become more onerous for their subordinates. SSI’s fifth biannual Security Industry Demographic Census shows owners/operators are experiencing post-recession relief with no signs of easing frugality measures.

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If you’re feeling a little more relaxed and less preoccupied with paying the bills of late, you’re not alone. Amid a subsiding recession, those who own, operate, manage or supervise within installing and/or monitoring security systems companies are working shorter hours, feeling less stressed, not traveling as much and earning more money than they were two years ago. While that’s good news for those individuals, it contrasts with less favorable trends regarding their organizations and the rank and file. Among them are reduced outsourcing that places greater burden on internal staff and resources, stagnation in racial diversity, cuts in financial assistance for education and training, and slashing of benefits — especially health care and other types of insurance. These observations reflect the profusion of developments concerning both people and businesses exposed by Security Sales & Integration’s fifth biannual Security Industry Demographic Census. Conducted by the research team at SSI’s parent company EH Publishing — with assistance from the Electronic Security Association (ESA), PSA Security Network and Reed Exhibitions (ISC organizer) — the 2014 study polled 375 security professionals from all levels of installing dealer and systems integration firms.

Launched in 2005, the Census aims to tackle a number of salient questions and quantify trends that enable tracking the industry’s evolution. The objectives include answering: Who are the people dedicated to promoting safety and protection, and who possess the business acumen and technical know-how that has elevated the industry and continues to drive electronic security forward? Where do they come from? What is their experience? What are their beliefs? How do they run their businesses? What are their commonalities, and differences?

From a managerial standpoint, other profound changes include higher levels of education; political affiliation migration away from both Republican and Democratic parties; greater prevalence of IT experience; and a shift in workplace priorities favoring short commutes and telecommuting over traditional virtues like base salaries and challenging tasks. Zeroing in on the organizational results, additional notable findings include: a pronounced upswing in solely owned and limited liability providers; the Web, social media and agencies gaining on referrals and classifieds for recruiting new hires; an uptick in female employees (now one-fifth); a stronger push for sustainability; and elevated distress about customer retention, health-care costs and finding and training employees.

As much as security continues to rapidly evolve — particularly from operational, business model and technological perspectives — the fabric of the industry as embodied by the people who comprise it exhibits subtle changes by comparison. The majority of installation firm owners and managers are college-educated, Republican, 55-year-old white males who are married with two to three children and have spent at least 20 years in the business. Get better acquainted with the composition of your colleagues and competitors through the comprehensive graphs and charts ahead, courtesy of the 2014 Demographic Census.

View the 2014 Security Industry Demographic Census.

Article Topics
Systems Integration · Industry Research · Security Industry Demographic Census · All Topics

About the Author
Scott Goldfine
Scott joined SECURITY SALES & INTEGRATION in October 1998 and has distinguished himself by producing award-winning, exemplary work. His editorial achievements have included blockbuster articles featuring major industry executives, such as Tyco Electronic Products Group Managing Director Gerry Head; Protection One President/CEO Richard Ginsburg; former Brink’s Home Security President/CEO Peter Michel; GE Interlogix President/CEO Ken Boyda; Bosch Security Systems President/CEO Peter Ribinski; and former SecurityLink President/CEO Jim Covert. Scott, who is an NTS Certified alarm technician, has become a respected and in-demand speaker at security industry events, including presentations at the Central Station Alarm Association (CSAA) Annual Meeting; California Alarm Association (CAA) Summer and Winter Conferences; PSA Security Network Conference; International Security Conference and Exhibition (ISC); and Security Industry Association (SIA) Forum. Scott often acts as an ambassador to mainstream media and is a participant in several industry associations. His previous experience as a cable-TV technician/installer and running his own audio company -- along with a lifelong fascination with electronics and computers -- prepared Scott well for his current position. Since graduating in 1986 with honors from California State University, Northridge with a degree in Radio-Television- Film, his professional endeavors have encompassed magazines, radio, TV, film, records, teletext, books, the Internet and more. In 2005, Scott captured the prestigious Western Publisher Maggie Award for Best Interview/Profile Trade for "9/11 Hero Tells Tale of Loses, Lessons," his October 2004 interview with former FDNY Commander Richard Picciotto, the last man to escape the Ground Zero destruction alive.
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Industry Research, Security Industry Demographic Census