Cityguard NZ Ltd is the first company in the local security industry to introduce the living wage – increasing its base hourly rate for all employees to $20.20 – more than 28% above the minimum wage and around 20% more than its competitors pay.
Company owner and director Ian Crawford says the traditionally low-skill / low-wage industry is overdue a shake-up, and that introducing the living wage is only part of the programme he is implementing to improve overall working conditions for his people.
“Over the past four years, we have been very focused on making Cityguard NZ an employer of choice in this industry. This is another part of the ongoing plan to create a socially-sustainable company with the intention of creating meaningful change in the industry.
“We introduced three core values (safety, courtesy and family) and quickly embedded those into everyday decision-making and processes,” says Crawford. “The trickle-down effect was that shift structures had to change and the number of hours reduce. My staff now work an average of 40 hours (with a maximum 60 hour/ eight day ‘week’: five days on and three days off) instead of the 60-plus hours which is the industry norm.
“This allows every one of my workers to rest properly, travel off-peak and spend quality time with their families. The change in work hours has also meant a number of spouses and partners have been able to take on a job, doubling the income for that family,” he says.
Crawford says that he has also incentivised training and education through NZQA and increased on their base rate once they achieve the relevant qualifications.
The results have been impressive.
“We have fewer no-shows and ‘sick days’, staff turnover is down, and individual engagement levels are high. People feel as though they really belong – like they are part of something bigger than themselves – and that creates an environment that is conducive to staff satisfaction and career sustainability,” says Crawford.
The New Zealand Security Association CEO Gary Morrison says that Cityguard NZ has achieved something that has been in the ‘too-hard basket’ for the industry for a while. “The changes that Ian Crawford has made since he took over the company in 2014 are nothing but positive, and the challenge now will be for the rest of the industry to follow suit,” he says.