Security guards are one of the least happy careers in the United States.

At CareerExplorer, we conduct an ongoing survey with millions of people and ask them how satisfied they are with their careers. As it turns out, security guards rate their career happiness 2.6 out of 5 stars which puts them in the bottom 7% of careers.

To put this into perspective, we compared how happy security guards are to similar careers in the industry. Take a look at the results below:

Salaries and satisfaction ratings in similar careers

Career Satisfaction Avg Salary
Customs inspector
2.9
$84k
Artillery crew member
2.8
$35k
Highway maintenance worker
2.8
$46k
Delivery service driver
2.6
$38k
Hazardous materials removal worker
2.6
$46k
Security guard
2.6
$31k
Exterminator
2.5
$38k
Correctional officer
2.4
$48k
Garbage collector
2.4
$38k
Vehicle cleaner
2.4
$29k

So what does it mean to be happy in your career? Let’s break it down into different dimensions:

  • Salary: Are security guards happy with their salary?
  • Meaning: Do security guards find their jobs meaningful?
  • Personality fit: How well suited are people’s personalities to their everyday tasks as security guards?
  • Work environment: How enjoyable are security guard’s work environments?
  • Skills utilization: Are security guards making the best use of their abilities?

Are security guards happy with their salary?

Security guards rated their satisfaction with their salaries 2.6/5. Security guards tend to be quite unhappy with their salary, with very few reporting satisfaction with their pay.

We asked security guards how fairly compensated they are for their work.
Their response was:

2.6 out of 5 stars

1966 security guards

5 Star
7%

7% of security guards rated their compensation 5 stars

4 Star
18%

18% of security guards rated their compensation 4 stars

3 Star
25%

25% of security guards rated their compensation 3 stars

2 Star
23%

23% of security guards rated their compensation 2 stars

1 Star
26%

26% of security guards rated their compensation 1 stars

Do security guards find their jobs meaningful?

On average, security guards rate the meaningfulness of their work a 2.1/5. The majority of security guards struggle to find any sort of meaning in their work, likely resulting in less satisfaction with the career overall.

We asked security guards how meaningful they found their work.
Their response was:

2.1 out of 5 stars

1967 security guards

5 Star
7%

7% of security guards rated how meaningful they found their career 5 stars

4 Star
9%

9% of security guards rated how meaningful they found their career 4 stars

3 Star
18%

18% of security guards rated how meaningful they found their career 3 stars

2 Star
25%

25% of security guards rated how meaningful they found their career 2 stars

1 Star
42%

42% of security guards rated how meaningful they found their career 1 stars

How well are people’s personalities suited to everyday tasks as security guards?

Security guards rated their personality fit with their work an average of 3.5/5. The majority of security guards find their personalities quite well suited to their work, with relatively few having complaints about their fit.

We asked security guards how well their personalities fit into their careers.
Their response was:

3.5 out of 5 stars

2082 security guards

5 Star
26%

26% of security guards rated their career fit 5 stars

4 Star
32%

32% of security guards rated their career fit 4 stars

3 Star
21%

21% of security guards rated their career fit 3 stars

2 Star
12%

12% of security guards rated their career fit 2 stars

1 Star
9%

9% of security guards rated their career fit 1 stars

How enjoyable is a security guard’s work environment?

As a whole, security guards rated their enjoyment of their work environment 3.2/5. Most of them tend to enjoy, or at least not be actively bothered by, their work environment.

We asked security guards how much they enjoyed their work environment.
Their response was:

3.2 out of 5 stars

2074 security guards

5 Star
17%

17% of security guards rated their work environment 5 stars

4 Star
28%

28% of security guards rated their work environment 4 stars

3 Star
26%

26% of security guards rated their work environment 3 stars

2 Star
17%

17% of security guards rated their work environment 2 stars

1 Star
12%

12% of security guards rated their work environment 1 stars

Are security guards making the best use of their abilities?

Former security guards on CareerExplorer have rated their skills utilization 2.3/5. Most feel that their skills are being underutilized in the career, probably leading to more general dissatisfaction with being a security guard.

We asked security guards how well their abilities were used in their careers.
Their response was:

2.3 out of 5 stars

2087 security guards

5 Star
8%

8% of security guards rated their how well their skills were utilized in their career 5 stars

4 Star
10%

10% of security guards rated their how well their skills were utilized in their career 4 stars

3 Star
17%

17% of security guards rated their how well their skills were utilized in their career 3 stars

2 Star
27%

27% of security guards rated their how well their skills were utilized in their career 2 stars

1 Star
37%

37% of security guards rated their how well their skills were utilized in their career 1 stars