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Booming security industry needs skilled youth

By WU NI  (China Daily)

08:53, July 08, 2013

Two security guards at Tsinghua University study in a classroom. China's booming security industry demands more young people with higher educational backgrounds. Provided to China Daily

When Bu Yanchuan graduated from Nanjing Normal University in 2009, he didn't dare tell his parents and friends that he could only find a job as a security guard with a meager salary of 2,500 yuan ($408) per month.

Now, the 26-year-old with a degree in international commerce has risen through the ranks of the security company where he works to become the deputy manager of its logistics department. He now earns more than 6,000 yuan a month, about the same as most of his classmates.

"Like many people, at first I thought my job was inferior, and that my capabilities were far above just patrolling in a factory. But as I understand the industry more thoroughly, I feel it is promising and a good start for my career," said Bu, who is from Yangzhou, Jiangsu province.

China's booming security service industry is in urgent need of talented youth, insiders say, but few university graduates are willing to enter the industry as the job is often regarded as one that requires lower academic credentials.

The industry experienced rapid development after the decisive Security Service Management Regulation issued by the Chinese government in 2010, which opened the security industry to private operators and international players, according to Fang Fulai, general manager of Weldon Security Service.

The regulation was also meant to fulfill China's promise to open up its service sector when the country joined the World Trade Organization, Fang said.

He said the development meant young people with degrees appeared in the sector, adding that, in the past, State-owned security guard companies employed mostly retired army personnel in their 40s and 50s, or migrant workers on low wages.

"More and more clients are requiring high-quality security services, which means our security guards need to master English, operate high-tech devices and have the ability to handle emergencies," Fang said.

The Weldon Security Service company was involved in the Shanghai Expo 2011 and Formula 1 Grand Prix in Shanghai. It has recruited more than 30 college graduates, some of whom are from renowned schools such as Shanghai Jiao Tong University and Jilin University, according to Ji Fei, its assistant general manager.

That figure is, however, still a tiny proportion of its 6,000 employees. Although these new recruits should work as ordinary security guards for at least three months, few of them stay in the front line. Most of them, like Bu Yanchuan, soon escalate to the management level.

"It manifests that young people with degrees have ample promotion opportunities, but on the other hand, we are lacking youth on the front line," Ji said.

Regional managers in charge of about 1,000 security guards can earn about 10,000 yuan per month in the company, he said.

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