Security Response & Electronic Security

Door Supervisor shortage due to Covid (but only in part).

Mon, October 18, 2021 by Clifford Connors.

Door Supervisor shortage due to Covid (but only in part).

Recent media reports suggest a shortage of Security Industry Authority licensed Door Supervisors due to the lengthy shutdown of the night-time economy due to Covid, and of course, Brexit. The evening standard headlines with an article "London is facing 'catastrophic' shortage of door staff". They quote the Night-time Industries Association chief executive Michael Kill, saying, "there is currently a hugely challenging environment for staffing in nightlife venues."

I do not doubt that Covid and the subsequent shutdowns have affected the door supervisor supply; however, this simplistic view only paints a small part of the picture. To appreciate the underlying cause of the shortage, first, you have to go back before covid. 

Typically, a Door Supervisor works Friday and Saturday night. Shift lengths can be anything between 4 and 8 hours; I would estimate the average being 5 hours. 

Hourly rates for Door Supervisors range from £9.75 per hour up to £15 or £20 per hour for supervisors in the main metropolitan centres, but let's go with a realistic average of £10.50 per hour. So as a second job, as they usually are, a Door Supervisor will take home less than £84 per week after tax. These low hourly rates are due to the low rates that venues are willing to pay.

The Covid effect only exacerbated the underlying issue. New entrants to the Door Supervisor industry are already being dissuaded by the risk-reward imbalance, coupled with the cost of gaining a licence, upwards of £600; it's a non-starter. Many incumbent door supervisors are working out-of-habit or as a reason to get out of the house. £ 84 is £84, I guess. So Covid only nudged many Door Supervisors to make a decision they were already contemplating. Many ex Door Supervisors prefer to stay at home with their families or spend quality time with friends.

A possible answer is for venues to pay rates that reflect the job risk and assist with licencing and training fees. So pay up venues, your customer safety should be your priority.