It’s a fact we can’t ignore — Singapore’s security workforce is rapidly aging. While the Union of Security Executives (USE) has been working hard to increase the wages and working conditions for security officers in Singapore, there remains a great concern for their health seeing as a third of security officers will be reaching retirement age in 10 years’ time, with a majority of the rest of the workforce following shortly after.
To help make the prospect of being a security officer more attractive, USE has started the Secure Your Health programme. The cleverly named programme empowers security officers to live healthier and fitter lives, and along with higher pay and less OT, will allow them to enjoy meaningful work and life.
This programme will be created with the cooperation of Singapore’s Health Promotion Board (HPB), which will provide two dedicated health coaches for 6 months for this initiative. This means that as security officers visit the USE office in Waterloo Street to obtain their security license, they will be able to go for basic health screening and advice on managing their health on the same floor.
“Efforts like what we have today help our workers prepare themselves physically, mentally and emotionally for a longer career lifespan that goes beyond 60,” said Secretary General of NTUC Chan Chun Sing. “We will continue to work with HPB to make sure that such programmes will continue to roll out to many other industries and sectors. Our job in NTUC is to ensure that we take care of our workers, but we can only do that with the support of partners like the HPB and the employers.”
This isn’t the only instance of free health programmes provided for blue-collared jobs. The National Taxi Association similarly provides taxi drivers with health checkups while they send their taxis for servicing.
The security industry has also seen quite a few changes in the last year or so. USE has announced that due to their efforts in negotiating with companies and workers, the median wage has been increased to $1,100 from $700 a few years ago, and the Progressive Wage Model that they have implemented will help further increase wage levels to a median wage of $1,300 by 2016. Moving forward, they have also expressed intentions to reduce over-time work, as long working hours is something that has been plaguing the industry. This not only compromises the quality of work, but deters new entrants into the workforce.
According to Secretary General of NTUC Chan Chun Sing, this is part of the Labour Movement’s four-step aim to improve the working conditions in the security sector: training men, improving machines, changing the method, and changing the mindset. Steve Tan, Executive Secretary of USE, shared that this will include introducing many new career tracks, such as that of security specialists, to provide more growth opportunities in the field, as well as introducing a new “uberising” app that will help match ad hoc licensed Security Officers to available jobs.
“We’ve been doing focus groups discussions, largely along SkillsFuture, we’re talking about the Security industry 2025, ten years from now,” says Tan.
By ensuring that security professionals are fit and able for the job, we will rest easy knowing that the buildings and structures they guard are safe.