Forum: Ensure security officers' productivity rises in tandem with new round of wage hikes

The first round of wage increases brought about by the progressive wage model for the security industry, which was made mandatory in 2016, was well received by stakeholders.

The Government welcomed the initiative as a viable alternative to minimum wages.

Security service providers believed the increase in wages was one step to resolving the perennial shortage of manpower.

And service buyers accepted the increase in costs even though they said they had yet to see a corresponding increase in the quality of service.

However, the latest round of basic wage increase coming into effect next year may be raising eyebrows among service buyers (Wages of 40,000 private security staff to go up, Nov 13).

There should be a corresponding productivity increase to go with a new round of wage hikes.

Rightfully, the increase in productivity should be higher than the percentage increase in wages. The Security Tripartite Cluster (STC) would do well to publish productivity numbers for the sector.

The focus now seems to be on using technology centred on security officers, such as body cameras or apps for attendance and incident reporting.

Instead, the security industry should be transformed through adopting technology with a corresponding reduction in manpower. For example, using video analytics to analyse video feeds to surface unusual activities, instead of having more officers.

This would not only address the manpower shortage issue but also bode well for service buyers, as otherwise they would have to bear the higher costs (Higher costs will be passed on to consumers, Nov 16).

Finally, STC should consider including representatives from the Infocomm Media Development Authority and Enterprise Singapore to advise it on how to drive and measure technology adoption and productivity improvements for the security sector.

Liu Fook Thim

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