While COVID-19 has devastated industries worldwide, none have been more affected than the nightclub industry.

Shutting their doors for the last time in March 2020, it has been over a year since people in the U.K., for example, danced in a nightclub until the early hours of the morning. According to a recent report, 43% of nightclub owners had not received any grant support, while 51% of nightclub staff had been made redundant as a result.

And while thousands of owners and staff prepare to return to normal as lockdown easing measures have happened in different parts of the world, the rise of the other variants of COVID-19 has set them back many reopening plans in other parts of the world.

But while 85% of the industry’s staff have revealed they are considering leaving following a tough year, another obstacle they could be facing is the severe shortage of door supervisors, who are vital for the nightlife industry.

A shortage of security and door supervisors could prevent nightlife from reopening in a post-COVID world. Here’s what needs to be done to tackle the challenges that may lay ahead.

Industries that go hand-in-hand

Since the inception of nightclubs, security staff have been employed to help manage access to the premises, enforce rules of the establishment, handle dangerous situations and protect patrons, staff and the facility from harm.

It is a legal requirement for anyone working within the security sector to have the necessary training and qualifications from an SIA-approved license, plus a criminal record check, to tackle any issues they face. And the two industries must continue to work together.

There is no doubt that the nightlife industry will need the support of security to deal with a potential increase in drunk and disorderly revellers that could see crime rates rise.

We’ve seen this occur in England and Wales during the pandemic following illegal raves and parties, where violence has ensued as a result of the drunken disorder. That’s because there is a strong link between alcohol and violence, with research suggesting any amount of alcohol consumption disrupts normal brain function.

So, without a strong security presence to monitor and control disruptions, how can nightclubs run efficiently?

A mass exodus

While nightlife might rely on the security industry for safe and efficient day-to-day operations, the fact is, they can’t employ security staff if they aren’t available.

In the past 12 months applications for new door supervisor SIA licenses are significantly down compared to previous years, according to reports.

One factor which is to blame for this mass exodus, is the government’s restrictions on licensed premises/events, while Brexit has seen several European staff returning to their home countries in the last year, too.

Security workers who previously trained as Door Supervisors aren’t renewing their licenses as they are now finding jobs with better pay, hours and job security, with less risk to their lives.

Plus, despite pleas to delay introducing extended training requirements until next year to give workers a chance to get back on their feet, the new rules require applicants for a door supervisor license to complete first aid training from 1 October 2021.

If you hold an existing door supervisor license, then you're expected to have, or get, an Emergency First Aid at Work qualification. Next, you will be expected to either complete top-up training to renew your license or security guard top-up training to switch to a security guard license – the latter being the cheaper option.

While it’s a positive move that the SIA is consistently reviewing their requirements in line with the times, it is no surprise that door supervisors are switching roles and leaving the industry.


It seems the very decision they have made to protect door supervisors could be extremely damaging for the sector as a whole if action isn’t taken.

… But how do we win them back?

There are several things company leaders can do to encourage our staff to return to roles within the nightlife industry.

Firstly, we can start by eliminating zero-hour contracts to provide better job security, improving working conditions and upping their pay to reflect the flight risk that the job entails.

By implementing positive changes for workers, they are much more likely to compromise and embrace the new training requirements and renew their licenses as they see the benefits of the training in a post-COVID world.

But that’s just outlining what the security industry can do. What can the nightlife industry do to win back door supervisors?

Well, they need to provide them with a safe and hygienic environment and a level of respect.

Now is the time to solidify the relationship between the nightlife and security industry’s even further. They need one another to survive.