SINGAPORE - The median basic pay of security officers has increased by $120 to $1,420 a month compared to two years ago, according to a recent survey of the industry.
The survey by the Union of Security Employees (USE) and the Singapore University of Social Sciences (SUSS) was conducted in January and February this year. A total of 707 security officers were interviewed in a random sample.
During a virtual media briefing on Wednesday (June 17), SUSS' Associate Professor Leong Chan-Hoong, who led the survey, said the median basic pay of survey respondents is higher than the $1,300 cited in a Ministry of Manpower survey in 2018.
The median basic pay excludes overtime wages and allowances.
Under the Progressive Wage Model (PWM), the lowest-ranking security officer must be paid a basic wage of at least $1,250 in 2020, while those in the next rank of senior security officer must be paid $1,420. The highest-ranking security officer, or a senior security supervisor, must be paid at least $1,820.
The PWM came into effect in September 2016, and is a licensing requirement for all security agencies. It covers all Singapore citizens and permanent residents.
To rise up the ranks under the PWM, security officers need to undergo the required training.
Meanwhile, the survey also found that about a quarter of security officers' monthly take-home pay after Central Provident Fund (CPF) deductions, on average, comes from overtime wages.
Based on the respondents surveyed, the median take-home pay for security officers is $1,975 per month, after CPF deductions.
Security officers who were surveyed said they put in an average of 11 hours of work a day, and between 56 and 58 hours a week.
Under the Employment Act, employees who work more than 44 hours a week are entitled to overtime pay. The same Act states that working hours for security officers, including overtime, cannot exceed 12 hours a day, and their overtime hours cannot exceed 72 hours in a month.
Companies that require employees to work longer hours must apply for an overtime exemption from the Ministry of Manpower, to allow them to work up to 95 hours of overtime a month, or up to 14 hours a day.
But from next year, the MOM will no longer grant overtime exemptions.
When asked whether the reduction in overtime hours would result in lower pay for security officers, Security Association Singapore president Raj Joshua Thomas said the PWM for 2020 has been designed to offset the reduction in pay brought about by the overtime removal.
"The PWM has been pushing the basic wages up... Security officers are also asking for more than the basic PWM wages, and if security agencies and buyers want to get more proficient and capable officers, they must also be prepared to pay higher wages," he added.
The survey also found that more than eight in 10 security officers feel satisfied with their job, and more than seven in 10 said they enjoy what they do.
More than nine in 10 of overall respondents said they are comfortable using technology or security systems at their workplace.
There are about 50,000 security officers in Singapore, and nearly 250 security agencies.