Brexit. A word synonymous with UK mainstream media for years. Yet, since March 2020 it has been eclipsed. The deadline caught some industries and organisations off guard, with exporting businesses struggling with paperwork revisions and delays to shipping.
The problems facing the security industry as a result of Brexit have been two-fold. One relates to City-based companies who have lost employees through remote working. We have seen this first-hand in the financial sector. It’s been well-documented that the likes of HSBC, Royal Bank of Scotland and Barclays are all looking to reduce their corporate real estate as they embrace a hybrid working model. However, where these UK-based organisations were previously working freely with European clients, they are now considering relocating to locations such as Dublin or Frankfurt where there are no restrictions in place.
How will this empty office space be used? What will Canary Wharf look like in 10-years? Will it be theme parks to help boost travel and tourism? One thing is for sure, it’ll change the way security is handled. Securing empty buildings is very different to securing financial organisations or law firms who have got very strict security policies in place and hold highly confidential information. Ultimately, you might end up with fewer staff as a result.
Secondly, there are recruitment challenges. We are proud of our diversity at SmartSec. A lot of Eastern Europeans have been working with us in the UK long enough for them to qualify to stay. We won’t lose these people. However, looking further down the line when it comes to replacing people, any organisation will struggle to employ newcomers from overseas.
For industries such as healthcare it won’t be as bad as they will still be able to sponsor employees. This is the challenge facing the security industry. It is more difficult to sponsor someone in what is not deemed to be a highly skilled profession. Whilst this will put immense pressure on the employment market, it will likely be a positive thing for the workforce. There will be competition between companies as to who can offer the best benefits in order to attract the best candidates in a more limited talent pool. Improvements will be made in pay scales, terms and conditions, pensions, sick pay, insurance cover, or private health.
With less people, this might push the industry towards a more technology-led approach which, in turn, brings a different kind of security officer into the role.
Make no mistake. Brexit has brought with it a number of challenges, but with every challenge comes an opportunity. We must not lose sight of that.
Helmey El-Aasar, SmartSec Solutions