12 February 2023
Talking around it is useless. One thing is clear: The traditional security industry is a low-wage sector!
Nevertheless: the security industry offers variety, responsible, exciting and also quiet jobs. And if you’re smart, you can make ends meet. But — what do you earn as a security guard with a certificate of competence?
What matters when it comes to earnings in the security industry…
If you decide to work in the private security sector or are looking for a new employer, the financial aspects certainly play a major role. There are several factors that contribute to a good hourly wage. The most important aspects for a more attractive salary are listed below.
Level of education and training
Obviously, the better trained you are, the higher your earning potential. As an unskilled security guard only with training according to § 34a GewO, you will very often not be paid much more than the minimum wage. With the expert knowledge examination, you can achieve a good bit more basic hourly wage with manageable effort.. You can go even further with further training to become a certified protection and security worker or with training to become a specialist for protection and security. Incidentally, the minimum wage nationwide has been 12.43 euros per hour since 1 January 2023. The increase to 13 euros per hour from 1 April 2023 has already been decided.
Additional qualifications, for example in first aid or fire protection (e.g. as a fire protection assistant), are very helpful and increase the market value of security staff. These do not always have a direct effect on the hourly wage, but they are always a plus point in job applications. Additional qualifications include the following:
- Fire safety helper
- Evacuation helper
- Lift rescue (rescue of persons from lifts)
- Intervention force
- NSL specialist
- Safety Officer (Occupational Safety)
- Hygiene/Health Officer
- Basic knowledge course in radiation protection and decontamination
- Weapons expertise examination
Intercultural skills and knowledge of foreign languages, especially at least basic English, should also not be underestimated.
The security industry has many facets and therefore the activities that security workers perform are also very diverse. Accordingly, there are sometimes serious wage differences. Security activities such as separate guards and simple guarding activities are often rather poorly paid. Jobs that require special skills often pay well. For example in the Aviation security, in the range Cash and valuables transport, during the activity in nuclear facilities, in which Underground and suburban railway guarding or as an NSL specialist in Emergency call and service control centres the earnings are often significantly higher than the industry average. The exact amount of the wage for the job can be found in the Collective agreements take from them. If they have been declared generally binding, which is usually the case, they apply to all employees. (It is best to add the federal state to the Google search to narrow down the results).
Anyone who is already active in the industry and works in shifts knows it: Often, biorhythms and private life suffer from the changing working hours. However, working night shifts, Sundays and public holidays often offers decisive financial advantages. Depending on the federal state/collective agreement, the following benefits can be earned Night, Sunday and public holiday surcharges that are well worth seeing. What’s more, these tax-free! On public holidays in many places 100% Surcharge possiblei.e. in addition to the actual daily wage, you receive the same amount again — but tax-free! Viewed over the month, depending of course on the amount of night, Sunday and public holiday hours, the following can be achieved Several hundred euros on top earn. Especially around the turn of the year or at Easter, this can be a lucrative affair.
Overtime is, of course, a partial aspect of working hours. Nevertheless, I would like to devote a separate point to this aspect here. Why? Because experience shows that a lot of overtime is worked in the security sector, often much more than is legally permissible and with too few breaks between assignments. Think carefully about whether you want to go along with this and should actually work 200, 220, 240 or even more hours per month. My tip at this point would be to invest in further education and not to trade so much time for money: Memento Mori — your lifetime is also limited. Set priorities and make a good decision for you, also for your future.
As in other industries, there is a West-East divide in the private security sector. In the past, these wage differences were really glaring. Security workers in Berlin earned in some areas not even half of those who worked in Bavaria. As a rule, the best-paid federal states include Bavaria, Baden-Württemberg and North Rhine-Westphalia. Among the lowest paid are still the new federal states, for example Brandenburg or Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania. Just a few years ago, one could barely keep one’s head above water with a job as a security guard in the East German states. However, the minimum wage and the gradual convergence of collective agreements are increasingly putting the differences into perspective. In addition, one should not forget that where people earn more, they usually earn less. Cost of living (especially rents) are higher. So think carefully — if you are toying with the idea — whether a move is really worth it for you.
Many people think of security service jobs in the classic way, as the security company that as a service provider external customers. Whereas in the past, veteran employees in factories came to the plant security service towards the end of their working lives to spend the last years of their careers doing less strenuous work, the situation has changed considerably nowadays. Professional, external security service providers look after a large number of companies from business and industry or the public sector as clients. But they still exist, despite the decades-long trend towards outsourcing. The Internal plant security. Especially in industry, property and plant protection activities are when you are directly employed by the manufacturing company, very well paid. The reason for this is that you are paid according to the industry pay scale to which the bulk of the workforce belongs. Take a look at the Rate tables for the metal and electrical industry! These monthly salaries are in a different league.
Allowances regulated by collective agreement are usually paid for guard/shift leaders, for dog handlers or in certain facilities such as military properties. Likewise, there are often allowances for on-call duties, e.g. for (additional) work in the plant fire brigade. These range from a few cents per hour up to over 10% more pay. In Bavaria, there is also slightly more money if you work in the greater Munich area.
Security companies or their clients also sometimes pay Voluntary (revocable) allowances. Sometimes there are also one-off bonuses for particularly successful assignments or for outstanding work performance. Unfortunately, these kinds of bonuses tend to be the exception. Increasingly common, however, is a Switch premium or, if you like, a kind of “welcome money”. However, this alone should not necessarily be the sole reason for changing employers.
You would like to know concrete figures?
If you have read the article up to this point, you will realise that this is difficult, as it can depend on a number of factors such as the federal state, the job, the working hours and their (additional) qualifications. Nevertheless, a concrete example:
- Monthly salary in the separate guard service with IHK specialist knowledge examination in 2023 in Bavaria:
14,00 Euro per hour
180 hours per month
- 12h holiday
- 16h Sunday
- 60h night
This results in approx. 2520 euros of taxable income (gross) and just under 420 euros of tax-free supplements.With income tax class 1 and no children, a single person thus receives approx. 2170 Euro net transferred. However, this calculation is for illustrative purposes only. Your actual salary paid out may depend on numerous factors!
Hint: This article was last updated in February 2023. As there are regular adjustments to both the minimum wage and collective agreement regulations, the framework conditions may have changed in the meantime! (All information without guarantee.)