Strategies for Salary Growth Across Security Roles

Last Updated: February 21, 2024

In the dynamic world of security, achieving salary growth requires more than just locking down vulnerabilities. Join us as we delve into effective strategies to boost your income within the security field. From certifications to negotiation tactics, we'll explore the key steps to advancing your earning potential.

How Much Can You Make as a Security Professional?

In the United States, the average hourly wage for a security guard is roughly $16. For more experienced professionals, this amount increases to $22.56. Security guards can earn slightly more in Canada, with the average hourly age hovering around $18. Meanwhile, the pay for security guards in London averages around £11.

Keep in mind that as you gain experience and develop your skills, it’s possible to earn more money through bonuses and promotions. It may also depend on the type of company you work for and whether there are advancement opportunities.

Factors that Determine Your Security Guard Salary

Many factors can impact a security guard’s salary. Aside from the base experience of working in this field, some factors include:

  • Where the job is located and the average cost of living in that region.
  • The special skills that you have or are required for the position.
  • Whether the position is entry-level or advanced.
  • The type of security role, such as residential or commercial security.
  • Negotiations for a pay raise or annual salary increases.
  • Unionized security agencies have higher wages and provide health and welfare benefits. They also often offer pensions.

Building Your Security Guard Salary

Security guards are learning how to use fire alarm panel

If you want to build your security guard salary over time, try these strategies:

Training and Certification

Don’t pass up any opportunity to receive further training or enhanced certifications. Each time you increase your skills and have documentation to show it, you make yourself more valuable within your role or if you want to apply to a new one. Whether you get a pay raise at your current job or the certification helps you get a better-paying job elsewhere, you won’t regret investing in your own career development.

Find a Mentor

Some success stories are the result of knowing the right people. If you find someone to mentor you in your current position, that mentor may have the connections you need to advance in your career. If this professional knows people in important positions at your company, they can let you know when new opportunities become available or even recommend you for a promotion.

Pursue a Specialized Role

Some roles don’t require specialized skills to fill the position. While these can be great when you are just starting out in the security field, you might feel the work—and pay—feel stagnant. To earn more money, consider taking a unique course or diversifying your skills into a specialized area of security. This way, you can try to get promoted or move into a position that can’t easily be filled by an entry-level candidate. Employers are willing to pay more to hire or retain people with exceptional qualifications.

Aim for a Management Position

Supervisory positions come with more responsibility but also added perks, like a higher salary. This strategy requires showing your employer why you’d be a good choice to supervise other staff. Consider your ability to motivate others, overall organizational skills, and how you communicate with coworkers.

How to Ask for a Raise as a Security Professional

Some positions won’t offer you a raise. Instead, you’ll have to ask for it. There are ways to do this without sounding crass while also speaking to the value you bring to the team. Consider the following:

  • Timing: Timing is key if you want your request to be considered Ask for a raise after you’ve hit a key goal or received a new certification or award.
  • Research: Do some research so that you know what a competitive salary may be for the work you do.
  • Budgets: The company will be more willing to give you a raise when business is going well, not after layoffs.
  • Next Steps: If you’re turned down, ask for a clear plan regarding what you’d need to accomplish to receive a raise.

When seeking a pay raise, it’s crucial to approach the conversation thoughtfully and professionally. Schedule a meeting with your supervisor to discuss your performance, highlighting your accomplishments and contributions. Emphasize how your skills have positively impacted security measures. Remember to maintain a respectful and constructive tone throughout the conversation to increase your chances of a successful negotiation.

Grow Your Career

Similarly to any field, the best way to secure a pay raise is to increase your value to the company you work for or search for jobs within your niche of specialized skills. Don’t shy away from negotiations, but also don’t be afraid to pursue other opportunities that help advance your careers—and your salary. If you’re looking to take the next step in your career, Find your next role by browsing our job board.


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Jeff Ketelaars
Jeff Ketelaars
Jeff Ketelaars is a seasoned security expert with over 35 years in the industry. He founded two security agencies and established Security Conscious in 1990, a firm that offers high-quality training to security professionals. As a skillful negotiator, Ketelaars has secured contracts for Canada's largest security guard union, advocating for fair treatment and compensation for security personnel.

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