7 in 10 security officers getting better pay, training

This is even before new wage model takes effect in Sept aimed at raising standards

Around 70 per cent of local security officers are already enjoying higher wages and better skills training, half a year before all security firms here are required to roll out these benefits.

All 250 security agencies - comprising some 33,000 security officers who are Singaporeans or permanent residents - have to adopt the progressive wage model by Sept 1, or risk losing their licences.

The new model maps a clearer career progression pathway for security officers and will see their average basic wage increase to at least $1,100, up from $800 in 2013.

Under the model, which is like a wage ladder, security officers get a pay rise of at least $200 at each tier, after they undergo training in areas such as incident management and equipment operations.

It aims to boost the standards and image of the industry, which faces challenges such as low wages and productivity, high turnover as well as excessive overtime hours.

MAKE TRAINING A PRIORITY

It is very important for our security agencies to send their staff for training, as it is the only way they can raise the industry's standards and improve the staff's productivity. ''

MINISTER OF STATE FOR MANPOWER SAM TAN.

A total of 19 two- to six-day courses are now available. Security companies pay $30 to $400 to train a worker, after a government grant of up to 90 per cent.

"It is very important for our security agencies to send their staff for training, as it is the only way they can raise the industry's standards and improve the staff's productivity," said Minister of State for Manpower Sam Tan yesterday.

"Eventually, the companies will be able to pass on the benefits to their workers."

Mr Tan was speaking on the sidelines of a visit to Reachfield Safety and Security Management's centralised command centre based at the National Library Building.

An early adopter of the new wage model, the company has reaped benefits from using technology in its daily work, said its managing director Alvin Lee.

For instance, all security officers on patrol use a real-time reporting system, named iREP, that allows them to mark their attendance at various points of a building.

The system is available as a mobile phone app, which can be easily carried around.

To respond faster to emergencies, especially in larger buildings, some officers can also hop onto Segways.

The company has so far bought five Segways, costing about $5,000 each, for use by its security officers at AMK Hub.

"The use of technology also professionalises their image, which will help to attract and retain more security officers," said Mr Lee.

Mr Luong Kok Fai has attended three courses and received a $200 pay rise to $1,300 since he joined Reachfield Security about five months ago.

The 26-year-old senior security officer will attend two more courses in the next two months.

He said: "It has definitely built up my confidence in carrying out my job well, both in helping members of the public and the police when it comes to handling incidents."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 12, 2016, with the headline '7 in 10 security officers getting better pay, training'. Print Edition | Subscribe