For those of you who’ve been following the Obama administration’s policy for defense spending, you might be getting a little worried about your job. That’s the environment we’re working in right now. Everyone’s cutting costs in order to stay in business, government and private sector alike. It seems like it doesn’t matter whether you’re a high speed tactical operator for a private security company or a low-speed customer service operator for AT+T, one thing’s the same: your jobs are getting outsourced to foreigners. It’s normal to be a little anxious about your future.
If you haven’t seen THE GRADUTE, starring a young Dustin Hoffman, check out this video. Basically this kid, Ben Braddock, is in the same situation as a lot of you are. He’s trying to start his career and spends a lot of time wondering what to do with his life. But what does this movie have to do with you? Well, let me give you one word of advice for your future. Just one word. Are you listening?
Look, as long as there are zones of conflict, there’s going to be a need for shooters. No one’s arguing that. But where it affects you is that companies can get away with hiring third-country nationals to do these security jobs for a fraction of the pay that Americans would demand. The security job market is hard enough to break into with all these highly trained and combat-tested veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, but now you’re facing competition from the Serbs, the Nepalese, the Colombians, and the Ugandans too! Standing post as an armed guard is not brain surgery, and your US citizenship only really matters when it comes to positions requiring security clearances.
As the pool of candidates for security jobs increases globally, salaries will continue to go down based on the laws of supply and demand. That’s a fact of life. But remember, before all these personnel get qualified to go to work, companies are going to need more people to go overseas to get them trained up. Remember that I’m no expert on global economies and market trends, but I predict that the demand for American security contractors will be more of a shift from fewer actual operators to more training and mentoring roles.
We all know how slowly the federal government can work, but you should still be constantly planning for your career over the long-term. Do what you can to make yourself an expert on a subject. Start looking at any instructor qualifications that might be available to you and snatch them up, no matter the field. Firearms instructor certifications are very easy to get, but don’t forget about the less-obvious topics as well. I once met a guy who traveled around the USA and Europe giving 1-hour classes on how to use drug testing kits! Instructors for polygraphy, defensive tactics, high-risk driving, and crowd control are always in demand. Also, while you’re still in your day job, take on as many leadership roles as you can get. Mentoring and advisory positions are geared towards people with higher level management experience.
Things change in any career field, but change happens especially fast in security. And remember, people who can adapt the quickest to changing circumstances will be those with the greatest chance of success.