What skills do you need to work in security?

Every job or profession is best completed by those suited to the role.

This suitability is determined by the skills and abilities of the individual, which can be innate or developed with personal development from relevant training and certification.

But what are these personal skills and what do retail security need to have to be successful in their chosen field?

The biggest skills needed by retail security

In random order, the most significant skills needed by security guards include, but are not limited to:


A large amount of time as retail security is spent communicating in one way or another, from talking to staff and customers to filling in reports and using telephones or walkie-talkies to pass along time-critical information in an emergency or when theft is occurring.

As such, retail security must have top-notch written, verbal, listening, and non-verbal communication abilities.

Customer service

While many may mistakenly assume that customer service is just for retail workers, customer service skills are highly relevant for retail security officers.

You are likely to spend a fair amount of time greeting, helping, and chatting with customers on the shop floor and when anti-social or illegal activity occurs, can also receive tips or reports from them.

This information can then be used to put a stop to crimes, such as theft, as they happen – saving your employer money.

Interpersonal skills

As part of your day-to-day duties, you will have to work with many groups of people, from staff and managers to customers, who may be frail, at-risk, or even using shopping as a cover for criminal activity, like theft.

As such, retail security will have to have excellent interpersonal skills, including:

  • Negotiation
  • Decision-making
  • Assertiveness
  • De-escalation
  • People-management

This will allow you to manage customers and staff, while also dealing with those who are looking to steal or commit anti-social activities, without allowing the situation to get out of hand.

De-escalation is often one of the most important abilities for retail security to have, as the consequences of escalation can be violent and result in accidents and injuries.

For this reason, situations with would-be offenders need to be minimised and stopped as soon as they occur, before things escalate.

Critical and analytical thinking

The ability to think critically and analytically is essential for retail security.

Critical thinking relies on using reason and multiple sources to assess situations fairly. This may sound complicated but can be as simple as speaking to multiple people and using CCTV footage to discover what has happened after an event – forming an opinion at the end.

It also relies on an understanding of the individual, which can be gained with interpersonal skills and observation.

Analytical thinking, on the other hand, revolves around finding solutions to problems using the evidence that is available to them, which is useful for both day-to-day problems and emergencies.

Multi-tasking and organisation

As we have touched on above, retail security will have to work with many people and within many situations across the course of the day.

But, as well as this, they will need to complete a series of tasks, which relies on them being able to juggle multiple tasks.

Similarly, remaining organised allows multiple teams of individuals to work efficiently together without issues of lost equipment, reports, or to-do lists.


While multi-tasking can be overwhelming, every task on the retail security to-do list needs to be completed with deliberate and focused attention to detail. 

Distraction can result in missed information and inaccuracies in reports and can even give criminals the chance to steal from the shop – making focus and attention-to-detail essential skills.

Stress management and the ability to remain calm under pressure

Like the emergency services, retail security teams are often the first port of call for unpleasant, antisocial, and sometimes violent situations.

This, and contact with the public, means that retail security needs to be adept at managing their stress levels while also remaining calm when in pressurised situations.

These skills coordinate well with interpersonal skills, especially de-escalation, helping retail security to keep their cool and protect the premises, staff, and customers from harm – before the police can reach the scene and take charge.


As retail security, one of your main roles is to carefully represent the company and employer who have hired you – maintaining their values.

As such, there is a very high degree of professionalism expected, no matter where you are working, which you should maintain whenever you are on duty.

Find retail security roles today

Highly skilled, knowledgeable, and professional, a position in retail security makes you a real asset to any employer – with an enviable salary and benefits package to match.

So, if you are looking for a position or need retail security for your premises, why not ask T-Class Security?

We pride ourselves on providing SIA-trained, high-quality retail security packages for businesses of all shapes and sizes – and are always on the lookout for new staff to join our ranks.

To find out more today, why not call us on 0203 7948182 or fill in our online contact form – our experienced team will be in touch as soon as possible.

Latest Blogs