To attract more people to the security industry, the Union of Security Employees (USE) is pushing for more career tracks to be developed within the next decade.
These are a specialist route for skills such as security system installation, lifesaving and using an automated external defibrillator, as well as an ad-hoc track to link about 32,000 freelance licensed officers with jobs through a website or mobile app.
These tracks build on the progressive wage model - setting out five levels of security jobs tied to pay rises and skill training - which becomes a compulsory part of licensing for security firms from September next year.
USE executive secretary Steve Tan announced these details at a launch event yesterday for a new health programme for guards at the union's customer service centre in Waterloo Street.
"We have to be more creative, we have to reclaim jobs," said Mr Tan, adding that the industry, which comprises about 75,000 licensed guards, is short of around 10,000 to 15,000 people.
The union is in talks with the security tripartite cluster and hopes to make a formal proposal about the career tracks next year.
Meanwhile, USE president Hareenderpal Singh announced free health checks for security officers at the USE customer service centre in a six-month pilot project.
They will receive basic checks such as for blood pressure and body mass index, and get advice on how to manage their health.
Those who need more detailed checks will be asked to return for another session. Health coaches from the Health Promotion Board will help eligible officers to apply for medical subsidies, if needed.
The health checks will be available during the service centre's opening hours of 9am to 5pm on weekdays and 9am to noon on the eves of public holidays. The centre is closed on weekends. About 1,200 officers visit it each month.
National Trades Union Congress secretary-general Chan Chun Sing said this will benefit officers who visit the centre to renew their licences. "They could put the time to good use by having a health checkup... so that they can better take care of themselves and in turn better take care of their families," he said.
Senior operations manager Jason Chua, 57, of CBM Security said most security officers work 12-hour shifts with only one day off a week.
"Our working hours are very long. We always lack sleep or proper rest, which can really affect our health," he said, adding that the programme will help him monitor his high blood pressure.
The programme is part of the $3 billion Action Plan on Successful Ageing announced in August this year, under which the Health Ministry and HPB aim to bring preventive health programmes to the workplaces of about 120,000 older workers in different sectors.