ESA Takes Initiative to Fight Security Technician Shortage

The ESA Dealer Toolkit delivers on addressing the security industry’s talent shortage dilemma.

Over the past year I have written and made several comments on the status of our industry’s workforce. Recently I’ve noticed some very positive and exciting activity in this arena.

In fact, there was one industry event that took place that was so promising I felt it deserved some dedicated space in this month’s Tech Talk.

Technician Shortage Challenges Industry as a Whole

Before getting to that, however, let’s review what has been happening lately in the employment world of the security industry to give it some perspective.

Last year we had the opportunity to review from an earlier SSI poll that out of the top 10 business concerns of security dealers and owners, the No. 1 concern was a shortage of technicians.

SSI Editor-in-Chief Scott Goldfine commented on this topic in the 2016 Gold Book and additional insights were provided by several industry veterans, including yours truly, in the online article “Top 10 Challenges Bound to Test Security Integrators“.

At the time, I had said that my overall concern was that the industry was not doing enough to promote the advantages of being a systems technician as a career opportunity.

“Trade associations such as SIA, ESA, BICSI and CEDIA need to consolidate large-scale public relations efforts to get the word out to the overall public and private educational community,” I urged.

Well, I’m excited to report that these concerns, along with many others business owners in our industry voiced, have not gone unnoticed.

All good jobs start with good job descriptions. Discover lots of ideas and starter job descriptions; access templates for technical, sales, and operations personnel to help you hit the ground running.

Association Steps Up With Myriad Resources to Leverage

This past winter at its 2017 Leadership Summit in Tampa, Fla., the Electronic Security Association (ESA) introduced a new management tool to its membership and the security industry as well.

The intent and design of this program, dubbed the ESA Dealer Toolkit (, is to provide members specialized resources to attract and recruit talent to their businesses.

I’ve been told that more than 75% of executives find the hiring of good employees to be a constant struggle, so this is a much-welcomed effort by ESA. Additionally, in an effort to get the word out about this exciting Toolkit program, nonmembers can get an overview.

As outlined on the Dealer Toolkit website, here are some of the important elements this ESA initiative offers:

Talent Search – Addresses different ways and areas to seek out talent. Presents materials to help to build relationships with regional trade schools, technical high schools, colleges and universities; aids for participating in job fairs held by these organizations and making presentations on career days; posting of job descriptions and periodical open houses/tours of your facilities.

Recruitment might include orientations from your existing personnel. Enlisting job boards aimed at military veterans is also covered.

Co-branded Material – Print ads and specialized flyers and posters to help your company attract talent; professionally prepared cobranded marketing material available in various sizes and themes promoting the benefits of jobs in security.

Retention Tools & Best Practices – Highlights a wide range of ideas and best practices to help a company remain competitive and attractive to present and future employees. Some areas of interest include retirement and 401(k) plans, medical benefits, holiday and flex pay, and sign-on bonuses. Additional advice is doled out regarding an array of awards programs.

Compensation – Gain access to 2013 Wage & Salary studies conducted by the ESA; learn about aspects such as what are the industry norms for benefits and bonuses.

Job Descriptions – All good jobs start with good job descriptions. Discover lots of ideas and starter job descriptions; access templates for technical, sales, and operations personnel to help you hit the ground running.

Recruitment Videos – ESA has made availability a dynamic industry recruitment video that can be used on websites and at job fairs, able to be customized with your cobranded company logo.

Additionally, the Dealer Toolkit has how-to resources for posting trade jobs, how to leverage social media, finding and utilizing career fairs, setting up limited partnerships, and offering employee referral programs.

Make sure to check out ESA’s end-user-facing “Get Into Security” website as well.

READ NEXT: ESA’s Mentorship Program Placing Young People on Inside Track

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About the Author

Bob Dolph

Bob is currently a Security Sales & Integration "Tech Talk" columnist and a contributing technical writer. Bob installed his first DIY home intercom system at the age of 13, and formally started his technology career as a Navy communication electronics technician during the Vietnam War. He then attended the Milwaukee School of Engineering and went on to complete a Security Management program at Milwaukee Area Technical College. Since 1976, Bob has served in a variety of technical, training and project management positions with organizations such ADT, Rollins, National Guardian, Lockheed Martin, American Alarm Supply, Sonitrol and Ingersoll Rand. Early in his career, Bob started and operated his own alarm dealership. He has also served as treasurer of the Wisconsin Burglar and Fire Alarm Association and on Security Industry Association (SIA) standards committees. Bob also provides media and training consulting to the security industry.

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