9 Sep 2020

Editor Introduction

For several decades, Baby Boomers represented the largest sector of employees in the physical security market. However, these security professionals born between 1946 and 1964 are now nearing retirement – or have already retired. How will the security market change as the next generations step up to make their contributions? We asked this week’s Expert Panel Roundtable: As Baby Boomers approach retirement age, what are the positives and negatives in the physical security market?

A clear positive of retiring Baby Boomers is that many positions across the security industry (from business leaders to the most junior roles) will be becoming available. However, on the flipside there is a continued lack of young people entering the security sector, which is making filling these positions more of a challenge. There are many excellent apprenticeship schemes available (such as the BSIA’s Skills for Security in the U.K.), but we still need to encourage young people to follow this career path. There are distinct benefits to our industry as a whole if we can achieve this, with new blood that is often technology and communications-savvy and keen to question the way things are done, helping to develop and refine security offerings to evolving needs. With regards to the market itself, we will also be seeing a larger percentage of retired people requiring safety and protection.

The general attitude of the security industry ties back to this generation, which still has a very conservative attitude towards physical security. You might see a greater number of individuals who fit the more antiquated perception of what security means. However, the physical security market is expanding beyond just a person, or a security guard as a barrier. The younger generation is in general more technologically savvy and brings with them a greater understanding of the analytical side of security. This is a positive for the industry, as it will pave the way for a more inclusive and diverse workforce – with complementary technological skills. The threatscape is different and now requires a different analysis which is complemented both in mentality and in knowledge.

Today, more and more industry veterans are retiring. An entire generation of security trailblazers and leaders will be passing on the torch to younger staff. This is both exciting and challenging. It will no longer be the norm for executives with 30 years of experience to make up the entire senior leadership team at a security company. This change opens the door for fresh faces, different ideas and new practices. It’s a positive change that more Gen Xers and Millennials will have a seat at the table. They challenge the status quo—in a good way—and pave the path toward greater innovation and impact. Baby Boomers retiring also creates more opportunities for women and minorities to hold leadership positions. A more diverse workforce leads to broader perspectives, deeper insights, richer discussions, and overall better decision-making. The future is bright as the next generation begins to make their mark.

The impact of the Baby Boomer generation approaching retirement age is bringing a range of workforce opportunities to the physical security market in a few ways. First, it’s opening the industry up to a younger workforce who are more open to thinking outside the box, in terms of developing new applications and uses for technology and applying them in novel ways. Their fresh perspective provides an opportunity for innovative ideas to take hold. The second impact is that younger generations are also more connected and might take better advantage of the data and technology available – such as in the smart home market, as well as new kinds of home security products. As these technologies grow in popularity with Millennials and GenZ, they are recognising the benefits of technology and might view it as less invasive and threatening when encountered in the professional, or commercial world. The convenience outweighs the risks.

Editor Summary

The retirement of Baby Boomers clears the way for new generations of leaders in the physical security market. Some of the newbies are more tech-savvy, or at least less tech-averse. Some bring fresh ideas and approaches to the industry's age-old challenges. Some are more connected. Fortunately, the Boomers have already built a solid foundation onto which the younger generations can now add own their contributions.