Getting that first job as a security guard entails more than possessing an SIA licence and passing a criminality check. Employers routinely require a certain level of physical fitness as a hiring prerequisite. This is not for the purposes of discriminating against certain kinds of people. Rather, security companies have very valid reasons for this requirement. We will discuss those reasons in the paragraphs below.
Suffice to say that the average security guard does not need to be a world-class body builder or martial arts fighter to get a job. He or she only needs to be in fairly good health and with no limitations that would prevent safe and competent performance. There are some exceptions to the physical fitness requirement, but these are rare. You will need to be reasonably fit if you expect to land a security job.
Physically Demanding Work
Despite perceptions that security guards do nothing but sit behind desks and watch security monitors all day, security work is quite physically demanding. The average officer spends a lot of time on his/her feet, patrolling those areas to which they have been assigned. Indeed, it is not unusual for some officers to walk several miles in a single shift. One cannot endure such large amounts of walking if one is not physically fit.
In addition, there are times when emergency response requires the security officer to act in a way that is physically challenging. One example would be restraining a bar patron who has had a little bit too much to drink. A physically fit officer will have an easier time removing the patron from the premises while someone who is not fit may struggle.
There is little doubt that people who are physically fit are less prone to accidents and injuries. Therefore, physical fitness makes security guards safer. A physically fit guard is better able to respond to emergencies without incurring injury him/herself, thereby making him/her more efficient on-the-job. Lastly, physical fitness is an important aid to security guards who face physical confrontations with others. A belligerent patron, for example, is less likely to physically engage a security guard if that guard is in good shape.
There are those experts within the security industry who believe that the physical fitness requirements set a tone of self-discipline for all guards. As the thinking goes, a degree of self-discipline is necessary to maintain a reasonable level of physical fitness day after day, week after week and month after month. The kind of discipline required to stay fit is the same type of discipline the security guard needs to do his/her job safely and effectively.
To that end, there are security companies that choose to develop physical fitness programmes similar to those used by the military or police agencies. That’s not to say all do; some develop programmes and standards that are considerably less demanding. At any rate, physical fitness is likely going to be part of getting a job with any security company.
The last reason for requiring physical fitness among security guards is perhaps the hardest to accept in our modern culture. It is the idea of perception. How a security guard is perceived in the eyes of the public will go a long way in determining how effective that guard is in his/her position.
Unfortunately, there is a perception among the public that the average security guard is old, overweight and unable to rise to even modest physical challenges. This leads to a lack of respect for those guards in the workplace. This perception endangers the safety of guards themselves and compromises the premises they are tasked with monitoring.
Requiring a certain level of physical fitness among guards is one means security companies use to change public perception. They want the public to respect their guards in order to avoid confrontation as often as possible. This respect is just easier to earn when security guards are fit.
It is true that you do not need to be the next Arnold Schwarzenegger to get a job as a security guard. However, the more physically fit you are, the easier you will find the job hunting process. Good fitness demonstrates you are up to the task physically, you have the necessary self-discipline, and you will be able to command the respect of the public.