Starting from 1 January 2023, security officers (Singapore citizen and permanent residents) will see their monthly wages increase. This comes as part of the enhancements to the Progressive Wage Model for the security sector, after the government accepted the recommendations of the Security Tripartite Cluster (STC). According to STC, all job levels in the security industry will see an increment in monthly gross wage with an average rate of 6.6% from 2022 to 2028.
What Is The Progressive Wage Model?
The Progressive Wage Model (PWM) was first implemented for the security sector in 2016. The security sector, along with cleaning and landscaping sectors were identified as sectors with high proportion of low wage workers. The PWM was set in place to address several challenges within the industry such as operational and manpower issues, low basic wages, low productivity, high turnovers of Security Officers (SO), and unattractive working conditions due to excessive overtime hours.
There are four key components in the PWM – salary progression, skills upgrading, career advancement and productivity improvements. Security officers can now achieve sustainable real wage increase through skills upgrading and productivity improvements.
Those looking to join the security industry should note that the PWM helps map out a clearer wage scale that adjusts pay based on job responsibilities and skill requirements. Although the PWM applies to Singaporeans and PRs only, employers are also encouraged to apply it to their foreign and in-house officers.
Security Guard Salary Starts At $1,400 And Will Be $3,530 By 2028
Back in 2016 when PWM was newly introduced, the baseline wage of the security industry was at $1,100 for the lowest rank.
Today, that amount has grown, and the baseline wage is now at a minimum of $1,400 for the lowest rank (SO). This came after STC’s recommendation to increase the wages by a fixed dollar amount from Jan 2019 to December 2021.
Come 1 January 2022, there will be a minimum 3% annual increment with a slightly higher increment in 2023, making the minimum basic wage of a Security Officer climb to $1,650. From 2023 onwards, the basic wages of security officers will progressively increase over six years. For example, the same security officer earning $1,400 today, would earn a minimum of $3,530 by 2028, and that’s more than double their basic wage today.
The minimum basic wage level for each rank:
|Senior security officer||$1,585
|Senior security supervisor||$1,985||$2,045||$2,240||$3,550||$3,770||$3,990||$4,210||$4,430|
Source: Ministry of Manpower
Basic wages in 2023 do not include overtime pay, which is paid at 1.5 times the hourly rate of pay for work in excess of the normal hours of work, in accordance with Part IV of the Employment Act.
Basic wages from 2024 to 2028 will include wages paid for work done in addition to the 44-hour regular work week, as they exceed the current $2,600 monthly basic wage threshold for workers to be covered under Part IV of the Employment Act. The number of extra hours worked above the standard 44-hours per week will continue to be capped at 72 hours per month.
The wage schedule is subject to review in 2025.
Long working hours and lack of manpower has been an issue in the security industry, leading to a practice of excessive overtime. Under the STC’s recommendation to remove Overtime Exemption (OTE), security officers can no longer work overtime for more than 72 hours per month. This reduction in excessive overtime hours is intended to ensure that SOs are well-rested and can achieve better work-life balance and still be productive at work.
According to MOM, working hours (including overtime) for the security industry cannot exceed 12 hours a day. In a month, overtime cannot exceed 72 hours.
By 2024, even the lowest rung of security officers should earn more than $2,600. This is quite significant as they will no longer be protected under Part IV of Employment Act – providing basic protection of work hours, rest days and other conditions.
Entry Requirements (Obtaining Security Officer Licence)
To become a security guard in Singapore, one must first obtain a private security licence from the Policing Licensing and Regulatory Department (PLRD) by Singapore Police Force (SPF). To apply for the licence, SPF requires individuals to meet the following criteria:
#1 Be a fit and proper person; person must not associate with a criminal in a way that indicates involvement in an unlawful activity, must not be dishonest or have a lack of integrity, must not use harassing tactics, must not be suffering from a mental disorder, and must not be an undischarged bankrupt or entered a composition with his debtors.
#2 Be a Singapore Citizen, Singapore Permanent Resident or a Malaysian Citizen with a valid work permit or employment pass.
Besides paying a non-refundable fee of $16 to process the licence, applicants must produce the following documents:
Source: Singapore Police Force
Higher Wages Comes With More Responsibilities
Under the PWM, the security industry has five ranks, from Security Officer to Chief Security Officer. The more senior your rank, the higher the wage and the more responsibilities.
Each rank has a different requirement for training and experience before they can be considered for promotion. Do note that the progression stated is not an expectation of promotion, job performance as well as other company requirements may also factor into the eventual promotion.
The following table details the training requirements and progression model:
|Rank||WSQ modules requirements||Tenure before being promoted||Responsibilities|
|Security Officer||2 Basic Licensing Units +
“Recognise Terrorist Threats”
|At least 6 months as a security officer||Screening, Patrolling and guarding, Access and egress control, Incident response, Acting as a bodyguard/ bouncer.|
|Senior Security Officer||2 certificate modules||At least 1 year as a senior security officer||Operate security and safety systems, Regulate traffic (Road Traffic Act), Monitor security or fire command centre, Assist ministries, statutory boards or government departments in law enforcement duties, Key press management|
|Security Supervisor||1 Advanced Licensing Unit
2 advanced modules
|At least 1 year 6 months as a security supervisor||In charge of security or fire command centre with 3 or fewer personnel, Incident management and reporting, Direct supervision, Execute evacuation plans and exercises|
|Senior Security Supervisor||4 advanced modules (Full advanced certificate)||At least 2 years as a senior security supervisor||In charge of security or fire command centre with more than 3 personnel, Conduct security audits and risk assessment, General supervision|
|Chief security officer||3 diploma modules||n.a.||Supervision management, Form and lead security watch groups, Security and contingency planning for major or large events|
Source: Ministry of Manpower
Upgrading Can Be Done With Your Employer Or On Your Own.
Based on the progression model, skills upgrading is important and these have to be WSQ-certified training. Depending on your hiring agency, the requisite upgrading course may or may not be sponsored by your employer.
For Singaporean employees, the employer can tap on Workfare Skills Support to offset 95% of the training costs for Singaporean employees. Alternatively, Singaporean employees can also tap on Workfare Skills Support to receive a training allowance of $6 per hour of training (capped at a total of 180 hours a year), to self-sponsor their own upgrading.
The Security Sector Will Continue To Evolve
Around 40,000 residential and commercial building security guards across 265 security agencies are expected to benefit from the enhancement of salaries for Security Officers.
However, this enhancement of wages will also likely herald a shift in the industry from a manpower-driven industry to one that leverages more on other resources, such as technology. This was also indicated in the recommendations accepted by the government, which stated that the requirement for security should move beyond “pure headcount contracts” to “desire security outcomes”.
New entrants and existing security officers should expect that they would need to continually upgrade their skills, in tandem with the planned salary increments.
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