The Growth & Development of the Private Security Industry

The private security industry has been booming since 2010 and is only expected to continue on that path through 2020. Specific occupations within security, like private detectives, investigators and security guards, are all expected to see growth of around 20 percent through the end of the decade, far outpacing the average for all other jobs.


In a study recently released by ASIS and the Institute of Finance Management, the U.S. security industry was found to be a $350 billion market. Some of the key findings of the study, which included over 400 executives from the security industry:


  • Investigators and private detectives are among the fastest growing occupations, with an estimated of 21 percent increase expected through 2020.
  • There are 2 million full-time security workers in the United States.
  • Operational security accounted for over $200 billion of the total amount, more than homeland security spending and IT security.


Information from the Bureau of Labor Statistics supports these occupational projection numbers, reflecting the tremendous growth of investigative jobs in the private security industry over the next several years. For security guards and gaming surveillance officers, the BLS projects growth that also approaches 20 percent through the year 2020.


Reasons For the Private Security Growth Spurt

The growth of the private security sector is largely due to a few main factors, one of them being a shift from standard approaches to criminal activity to one of preventive measures. This is especially true of investigators and detectives that are being increasingly employed to do background checks, which are an emerging priority for many companies, particularly those that work with important data or propriety information.


Another factor is that many of the roles traditionally held by police officers are being filled by private security professionals. With many cities and communities seeing cutbacks to their law enforcement personnel, positions like event security and residential patrol have fallen under the realm of private security and for hire security guards.


Further Reading


Worldwide Security Reports – Information, statistics and reports on global and country-specific security industries.


Security Guard Occupational Statistics – BLS data on jobs, wage information, geographic and industry profiles and occupational outlook for security guards.