The 13th annual survey of salaries and bonuses in the security/loss prevention field

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The 13th annual survey of salaries and bonuses in the security/loss prevention field

Contributed by Dr. Steven Langer, President, Abbott, Langer & Associates. (slanger@abbott- Contributed articles do not necessarily reflect the viewpoint of the ÆGIS e-journal.

The composite security/loss prevention practitioner with the highest annual income (salary plus cash bonuses and/or profit sharing) is a Security/Loss Prevention Director or Vice President located in Ft. Lauderdale, Newark/Jersey City, Philadelphia, Boston, St. Louis, Los Angeles/Long Beach, or Chicago, or outside the metropolitan areas studied in South Carolina or Pennsylvania.

This composite “individual” is employed by a merchandising firm, a manufacturer of pharmaceuticals & related products, a security service, a manufacturer of chemical & allied products, a property/real estate management firm, or a financial institution with 2,500 employees or more and an annual security budget of $2.5 million or more. He or she has responsibility for security/loss prevention for either the entire organization or a major division of the organization, has 10 or more years of experience and at least a Bachelor’s degree, and reports to the Chief Human Resources Executive, the Chief Legal Executive, or the Chief Operating Officer/Vice President-Director of Operations.

A fair number of individuals in this group make well in excess of $250,000 per year, although Security/Loss Prevention Directors and/or Vice Presidents as a group have a median income of $71,848.

Far toward the other end of the income spectrum, Unarmed Security Officers/Guards have a median income of $22,245 per year. The lowest-paid employees in this group are located in Los Angeles/Long Beach, Columbus (OH), Oklahoma City, Raleigh/Durham/Chapel Hill, or Norfolk/Virginia Beach, or outside the metropolitan areas studied in Pennsylvania, Mississippi, Kentucky, Louisiana, Arkansas, or Massachusetts.

This composite “individual” works for a security service, an educational institution, a hospitality organization, or a food/beverage/tobacco products manufacturer, in a position that requires little or no prior experience but does require a high school diploma. Such an individual may earn as little as $12,000 per year.

These composites represent the briefest possible “boil-down” of the voluminous data provided by 197 organizations regarding the current salary, salary ranges, and cash bonuses and profit-sharing, and numerous demographic variables for individuals in 26 benchmark jobs in the security/loss prevention field. The end results of the survey, the most intensive and extensive ever attempted in this field, appear in Compensation in the Security/Loss Prevention Field, 13th Edition, a tightly-packed, 276- page, two-volume statistical analysis of compensation in this field. Copies are available for $75.00 (for Part I – Security/Loss Prevention Directors/Vice Presidents) and for $550.00 (for Part II – Other Security/Loss Prevention Jobs) from Abbott, Langer & Associates, Inc., Dept. ART, 548 First St., Crete, IL 60417; telephone 708/672-4200; fax 708/672-4674; http://abbott-

It would be an exercise in futility to attempt more than a superficial overview of the survey results in this summary. However, some overall data can be presented herein and some comments on the relationship of the various demographic variables to income in the security/loss prevention field can be made.

Overall Compensation

In addition to the income of the two jobs already discussed, the median total cash compensation of some of the other 24 jobs included in the survey report is:

Physical Security Specialists – $71,000

Security/Loss Prevention Managers – $53,000

Computer Security Specialists – $52,491

Classified Security Specialists “A” – $45,845

Investigators – $43,772

Console Operators “A” – $31,899

Security Officers/Guards (Armed) – $27,000

Supervisors of Security Officer/Guard Operations “D” – $24,451

Vehicle Gate Control Supervisors – $23,500

Store Detectives/Loss Prevention Agents – $23,000

Naturally, these overall figures vary when geographic location, type of employer, size of organization and security/loss prevention budget, level of education, length of experience, etc. are considered. Analyses by each of these variables appear in the complete report.

Certification Status

The CPP and CFE certificates lead to increased income for executives in the security/loss prevention field, although other factors may account for a portion of the additional income of holders of these certificates. For example, the median Security/Loss Prevention Director or Vice President who holds both the CPP and the CFE has a 37% higher income than those without either certificate.

Geographic Area

Most security/loss prevention jobs are compensated best in the largest cities and least well in the smaller cities and rural areas. For example, Security/Loss Prevention Directors and Vice Presidents are paid best in such locations as San Jose (with a median income of $112,000), Los Angeles/Long Beach/San Diego ($90,650), Chicago ($77,000), Cleveland ($76,295), Columbus ($75,000), and Philadelphia ($74,000); and least well in Oklahoma ($30,000), Texas ($36,250), and Georgia ($42,000). However, this does not hold true for the entire range of jobs, with the “ranking” of cities/states varying by job.

Type of Employer

Security/Loss Prevention Directors and Vice Presidents fare better, on average, in manufacturing firms than in non-manufacturing organizations – 18% better. The median income of members of this group is highest in firms that manufacture chemical, pharmaceutical, & allied products ($170,000) and electrical & electronics products ($93,500); merchandising firms ($91,600); banks and other financial institutions ($85,000); and insurance companies ($83,630).

The lowest median incomes for this group are found among those employed by museums and art institutes ($30,000); security services ($39,000); hospitality organizations ($40,000); and state & local governments.

In comparison, Unarmed Security Officers/Guards fared best when employed by utility companies ($36,044), manufacturers of paper products/printing & publishing firms ($29,000); and state & local governments ($27,496).

They did least well when employed by such employers as manufacturers of chemical, pharmaceutical & related products ($16,600) and food / beverage / tobacco products ($19,100); and educational institutions ($19,800).

Size of Organization and Security Budget

Two of the most consistent determinants of income for Security/Loss Prevention Directors and Vice Presidents are the size of the employing organization and the total annual security/loss prevention budget. The median income of Security/Loss Prevention Directors and Vice Presidents rises dramatically from $30,000 for those employed in organizations of fewer than 100 employees to $110,500 of those in organizations with 25,000 employees or more. The median income of these individuals also rises dramatically from $30,000 for those with annual security budgets of under $100,000 to $102,500 with budgets of $2.5 million to $4.9 million. The complete report also provides income data vs. external security services budget, proprietary guard services, and all other security functions budget.

Level of Education

The level of education attained is another important determinant of salary in the higher-level jobs. For example, Security/Loss Prevention Directors and Vice Presidents make 173% more with a master’s degree ($81,900) than with just a high school education ($30,000).

Involvement with DOD/DOE Regulations

Involvement with Department of Defense and/or Department of Energy regulations has a significant effect upon the compensation of specific security/loss prevention jobs. For example, the median income of Security/Loss Prevention Directors and Vice Presidents on the basis of involvement with DOD/DOE regulations is as follows:

Operates under just DOE regulations – $122,000

Not involved with either DOD or DOE regulations – $71,022

Line of Reporting

The line of reporting for Security/Loss Prevention Directors and Vice Presidents is reflected in their level of compensation (although this may be a by-product of other demographic variables, such as type and/or size of organization). The median income of Security/Loss Prevention Directors and Vice Presidents, in descending order by the function of their immediate superiors, is:

Chief Legal Executive – $110,500

Chief Administrative/Corporate/General/Support Services Executive – $91,000

Chief Human Resources Executive – $87,114

Chief Audit Executive – $85,000

Chief Financial Executive – $82,006

Chief Executive Officer/President/Owner/General Manager – $70,000

Chief Building/Facilities Executive – $68,000

Chief Operating Officer/V.P.-Director, Operations – $66,825

Plant Manager/Superintendent – $30,000

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