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Security industry

The security industry in Australia generates around $6 billion in revenue1. There are in excess of 6000 security businesses around the country, with over 54 000 workers.

The industry is forecast to grow by a further 1.6% by 2020, with over 60 000 workers to be employed2.

The sector includes several major companies as well as a large number of smaller operators. It is not uncommon for a number of the smaller operators in the industry to have commenced as security guards themselves. QLD, NSW and VIC account for approximately 78.8% of industry revenue due to higher population and business numbers3.

The industry is predominantly male, and the majority of workers work in excess of 40 hours per week (72.6%). The most common level of education is a Certificate III or Certificate IV, with many states and territories requiring at least a Certificate II as an entry requirement to obtain a security licence. The main age group is 25 – 34 years, and the median age is 41. In all states, workers are required to be at least 18 to obtain a licence4.

While the sector accounts for only around 0.5% of total employment and 0.4% of businesses in Australia, the security industry has consistently represented more than 2% of requests for assistance involving a workplace dispute lodged with the FWO.

In the 2015-16 financial year, at the time the compliance activity component of the Inquiry commenced, the security sector was ranked ninth-highest in terms of workplace disputes requiring FWO intervention. The most common age group lodging requests for assistance with the FWO in the security industry is the 40 – 49 age cohort (28.7%).

Within the security industry, a Council or other government contract is highly sought after, as they provide a larger degree of ongoing work than other contracts. This has created a highly competitive playing field, with some businesses tendering bids lower than would be required to pay the total cost of the employee just to win a contract and some councils awarding contracts based on the price without conducting due diligence.


  1. Investigation and Security Services - Australia Market Research Report on Ibisworld website external-icon.png.
  2. CPSISC Security Sector – Snapshot on CPSISC website external-icon.png.
  3. Ibid
  4. Ibid