Gavin de Becker & Associates Employee Reviews

3.4
Overall rating
Based on 49 reviews
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4.0
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An Honest - Non Bias Review
Team Leader (Current Employee) –  Los Angeles, CAJuly 13, 2018
My goal in this review is to provide a transparent and honest review of GDBA.

As a Management level individual for the firm as I have been for nearly 3 years I can be honest in saying I've worked alongside the employees that make most of the negative reviews. They all display the same traits, poor work ethic, want everything handed to them and don't take responsibility. However, some of their recommendations for leadership and the company are true.

The culture of GDBA is great and provides an easy transition for prior military/law enforcement. All others are welcomed as well. A typical work week/month would consist of a standard 48 hour work week,(you will more than likely be ASKED to work OT, you can say No) As a new protector, you're on night shifts. Everyone has to start somewhere, If you think you're going to start on a Monday - Friday day shift, or traveling internationally, that won't happen. If you have prior experience in the EP world traveling, that will be recognized and you will possibly be pulled to travel and your experience utilized. But just know that everyone must have the understanding and ability to work in a command center.

Leadership is great and has changed a lot in the past few years, managers have been promoted, divisions split and focus can be placed where needed as mid-senior level leaders can pay attention to their assigned tasks. GDBA is growing, with that comes growing pains but it all gets recognized and at the least acknowledged. Sometimes issues don't immediately get fixed, it takes time which some people can't comprehend, and those
  more... individuals depart the firm.

The schedule can indeed be tough at times, flipping from days-nights and vice versa is an occurrence, but one that is attempted to be avoided .

Opportunity for growth is abundant, the firm is growing which creates positions almost daily it seems like.

Pay is good, starting out you get paid what one should expect as a new employee (You region/state differ). However understand the ability to make very good pay does exist and the firm provides you an outline of the current pay scale which is very competitive
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Pros
GDBA has continued to grow since I started in 2014, and I don't ever see it stopping, Compensation adjustment with each promotion, along with outlined career track/promotions for your first two years.
Cons
Rapid growth of the company cause for schedule strain, Very disciplined and strong work ethic individuals excel at this while others will struggle, There will be times you work very long hours, be asked to work overtime, stay late, cover shifts etc.. That comes with the industry as long as you expect that you'll be fine, (you can say no to OT)
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4.0
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Good place to start
Security Operations Director (Former Employee) –  Washington, DCJuly 10, 2018
If you are looking to start in the executive protection world or need a good starting point after the military I would look at GDBA. They have a very large West coast presence if you like the area.
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4.0
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Awesome place to work
Supervisor/Security Staff Agent - (Former Employee) –  Studio City, CAJuly 9, 2018
You work hard, get paid well and see some pretty incredible things! No joke, GDBA was a blast. I learned all of the time, worked for some very well know celebrities and CEO's and got paid very well.

When I started there we had maybe 45 to 50 employees. Now I believe they have over 400+ staff members all over the world. If executive protection is the career filed you want to be in, GDBA is the place to work. I'm forever grateful that I worked there.

Management was always there to help you do the very best you could and regularly would sit with you and go over opportunities for advancement.

The most enjoyable part of the job was service. Customer satisfaction was key and we were, in my humble opinion, the best of the best.

The only con would be the long hours...but that is an accepted part of the job. I miss it!
Pros
Great management, benefits and work experience
Cons
sometimes you'll pull night shift....
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5.0
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Those who push will succeed
Security Director (Current Employee) –  CaliforniaJune 26, 2018
Work/life balance can be daunting, initially. As you progress and show that you're a team player and an asset, recognition can be like wildfire - projecting your career and opportunities rapidly. Just keep supply/demand at the forefront of your mind if things become stagnant. Stagnation can change on a whim.
Pros
Workload vs Pay (two thumbs up)
Cons
Not as high-speed as an outsider may think
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5.0
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Great Environment with Many Opportunities
Intelligence Analyst (Current Employee) –  San Francisco Bay Area, CAMay 30, 2018
GDBA has much to offer talented professionals with a background in security, intelligence and foreign affairs. The environment is friendly, engaging and productive - one of the best companies I’ve ever worked for. If you are a hard worker and innovative thinker, you will really thrive in many positions within the company. Your contributions to projects are valued and managers make sure you are being challenged and working on issues you care most about.
Pros
Awesome co-workers, generous meal perks, good compensation
Cons
Short breaks, long hours
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3.0
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Interesting work
IT Systems Administrator (Former Employee) –  North Hollywood, CAMay 25, 2018
Very private company with lots of benefits. Secrecy was a must and was mandatory. Learned lots of my computer skills at this company as well as more education.
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1.0
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This is a service job, not security
Security Staff Agent (Current Employee) –  Los Angeles, CAApril 16, 2018
If you are willing to devote your entire life to the company, the pay is decent, the work interesting (sometimes), and the coworkers are truly excellent. The normal shifts are 12+ hours, 4 or more days a week, with zero regularity and frequent changes from days to nights and back again. Upper management has zero regard for employee well being and will take any available opportunity to save a few dollars at your expense. They also reward and promote entirely based on how much of the GDBA company line you follow and regurgitate. Do not expect previous experience and knowledge to be respected or rewarded in any way. The work itself varies greatly depending on your site, from basic home security to driving clients and providing field coverage. In reality your job is to keep the client happy which means you will act as a house servant/personal assistant far more than you will will do anything security related. This is 100% a service job for the whims of the extremely wealthy and in truth, little to no safety or security is being provided by the services of GDBA.
Pros
Decent pay, advancement possible, company is expanding, excellent training and coworkers
Cons
Management, hours, work life balance, actual work is rarely security related
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2.0
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Long hours mínimal room for advancement
Security agent (Former Employee) –  Los Angeles, CAApril 7, 2018
Merit is not recognized unless your part of the club. Long hours most spent alone in a house worth millions. The fun stuff is only provided to those few chosen part of the club.
Pros
Stepping stone
Cons
Poor management
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5.0
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Great Culture, supportive environment
Security Staff Agent (Current Employee) –  Los Angeles, CAMarch 18, 2018
GDBA was a huge career change for me. I am a female with no previous military or law enforcement experience. Going into the Academy GDBA made me feel confident that my 10+ year of customer service is equally as important as the military/enforcement experience most others have. GDBA has helped me hone in on my strengths and train and gain knowledge on my weaknesses. I have been on staff now for almost two months and I feel more confident in my abilities each and every day. Leadership is at your call 24/7, and believe me I have called my boss at 3am asking a simple question and not once did I get the impression that they weren't willing to help. The Culture is infectious, the more you talk to your peers, the more you learn and grow the more you feel apart of something great.
Pros
fast paced, always someone willing to help
Cons
long hours, night shifts
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5.0
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Great Experience
Secuirty Guard (Former Employee) –  Los Angeles, CAMarch 2, 2018
Worked with numerous people, armed secuirty, great pay and OT, training onsite, must look very presentable, great pay, suit required, tons of walking.
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4.0
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Continuous employment in the security sector
Security Agent (Current Employee) –  New York, NYFebruary 22, 2018
GDBA is an interesting firm to work for.
It has something for the complete novice to the seasoned professional. For the novice, they will give you a solid foothold into the industry. They have an ethos of continuous training and education.
For the seasoned professional, they will give you continuous and stable employment with opportunities of career enhancement.
Pros
Stable work, possibility of promotion if you want it.
Cons
You can be stuck at one site for a substantial period.
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5.0
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Your success HERE depends on your performance HERE
Protector (Current Employee) –  Los Angeles, CAFebruary 21, 2018
I've read through some of these bad reviews and I gotta laugh at the entitlement and the absurdity. Their comments sounded like overweight terminal lance corporals and staff sergeants standing in the smoke pit and whining about not being promoted.

This is the best private security company on the planet and it's not even close. Please someone name another company with GDBA's resources and clients. Just go to the website and see who works here. Then ask yourself, would they work here if the company was horrible or even remotely not legit? And nearly all of the leaders came to GDBA as entry level protectors -- starting out working night shifts at a clients' residence.

I served 8 years in USMC infantry and then came to GDBA. Just like in USMC, the few guys who don't work hard or invest in their own improvement are always the first to complain -- hence, the one star reviews. Successful people in any industry don't point fingers, they're smart enough to connect with the successful people at that company and learn how to make things happen for themselves -- starting with their performance. And if GDBA isn't a good fit, best to them as they're career progresses somewhere else.

This company is a true merit-based company. Everyone says that's what they want. In reality, merit-based is not for most people -- as most people don't want to do the work. Most people want opportunities given to them b/c they think they deserve it and b/c of what they did five years ago in the military. etc. Your success HERE depends on your performance HERE.
Pros
Performance based, strong culture, great opportunities in protection
Cons
Some days can be long, the work is challenging
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4.0
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You get back what you put in.
Intelligence Analyst (Current Employee) –  CaliforniaFebruary 20, 2018
Gavin de Becker & Associates reflects directly upon your work ethic at your site. All sites are different at GDBA due to the client's needs so being able to adapt to those needs is what will set you apart from the rest of the employees.

With Protection Services Division, GDBA gives you the option of enrolling in their internal academy where you receive two promotions in the first year and then another one after your second year if you decide to stay with the program.

If you put the work in here, you will get rewarded by the company. The individuals who seek extra projects, overtime, and help cover last minute shifts are the ones who excel.
Pros
A lot of opportunities, good connections and coworkers
Cons
Long hours and changing schedules
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5.0
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Working for GDBA
Team Leader (Current Employee) –  San Francisco Bay Area, CAFebruary 12, 2018
Working for Gavin de Becker and Associates (GDBA) has been a great job right out of the Marine Corps. The team members that I have had the pleasure of working with thus far have all been driven and professional. The company itself provides a 2 year leadership course which teaches different styles of leadership that you can apply to the rest of your professional career and in-depth classes on executive protection. The best thing about this company in my opinion is they run on a merit based system, no more time and grade and limited to when or what you can be promoted to.

Initially, I joined the firm to use as a stepping stone into law enforcement but after my experiences here and the opportunity for growth I can now see this as my career. I highly recommend applying to GDBA if you are interested in any type of protective work such as law enforcement or executive protection can be a great stepping stone.
Pros
Good pay, 3 days off a week, Full Benefits, Travel, Merit based promotion system, New experiences everyday.
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4.0
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Professional Review
Security Staff Agent (Former Employee) –  New York, NYFebruary 9, 2018
Excellent company, smart supervisors, proactive, productive, excellent training, merit based promotion, travel opportunities, and a positive work environment.
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3.0
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Good points exist, but there are issues to contend with.
Staff Security Agent (Current Employee) –  Los Angeles, CAOctober 27, 2017
This is a great company and could be greater. But it has some flaws, like any other company. Past accomplishments are why they will hire you, but they won't pay you for those credentials.
Pros
Amazing people and coworkers, Overtime available sporadically, Best training you could ask for in the industry, Subject matter experts everywhere, High level of professionalism, Best in the business.
Cons
Not paid enough for the work you do and the money that the company gets because of your employment
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3.0
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Unique work environment
SSA (Former Employee) –  Los Angeles, CAOctober 13, 2017
There is little in regards to a work life balance until you have about two years with the company. The fact that they give you only a week of PTO starting off is laughable given the fact that you will likely work an average of 48 hours. That being said, management is aware and supportive but they only offer little in the way of relief. If security is your passion I am sure this company will be great for you or even if you enjoy the investigative side of executive protection there are opportunities available. However, if you desire an environment that requires some heavy analytical thought, then seek employment elsewhere. In the grand scheme of compensation they are not bending over backwards to adequately reward their employees because of the way they calculate overtime. However, most people that have advanced truly enjoy their work and it was a pleasure to work alongside those associates.
Pros
Fantastic employees, advancement opportunities, plenty of overtime, and decent benefits
Cons
Bad work life balance, nonsensical overtime payment structure
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1.0
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The worst security firm on the planet
Security Staff Agent (Former Employee) –  Los Angeles, Malibu, Beverly HillsSeptember 5, 2017
Everybody hates this company, and I suspect the positive reviews here were written by management. I worked here for over two years, primarily at a celebrity estate.

Expect to work days and nights in the same week, always 12-hour shifts. Salaries are based on a 48-hour work week, which includes 8 hours of time and a half, so when they start you out in the $45,000-a-year range, you're getting completely screwed.

The management is utterly inept, which is apparently why some were fired after TPG Growth bought part of the company in 2013. Maybe it's better now, but when I was there, there were far too many cooks in the kitchen, and the bureaucracy was incredible. They would enact ridiculous hoops you'd have to jump through, like "GDBA University" which you'd have to do to get promoted. Also, I hope you like silly, made-up acronyms, because you'll be tested on them randomly while sitting in your guard shack, bored out of your mind.

Oh, and I forgot to mention, they have a camera staring at your back in every CC ("command center," which is a fancy word for "guard shack") to make sure you don't fall asleep on the job, as they hire a lot of irresponsible morons who've never heard of coffee.

Every person I talk to in the security industry says the same thing: Gavin de Becker's reputation has gone down the toilet in the last five years. They have EASILY the highest turn-over rate in the industry for a reason.
Pros
The clients were usually pretty cool.
Cons
Employees are encouraged to rat on each other for minor infractions and mistakes, horrible hours, horrible people
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3.0
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Fast Paced Work
Executive Protection (Former Employee) –  San Francisco Bay Area, CAAugust 28, 2017
Always adapt; weak minds and complacency are associated with failure.
Is putting your life before someone else, maybe that you completely disagree with, something you're interested in?
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2.0
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Only in small doses
Staff Agent (Former Employee) –  North Hollywood, CAJuly 9, 2017
I find it difficult to give a poor review to any company that will go out of their way to trust me, train me, and pay me. However, Gavin de Becker & Associates (GDBA) is a tough cookie to swallow.

The company is based out of California, where most of the contracts and employment opportunities reside. If you are outside of California, you are going to be hard pressed to find training opportunities or advancement.

The company does a great job of bringing you on and sending you to California for training, which was well done and about half of the instructors know what they are talking about, but is far below industry standards in terms of defensive tactics, the legality of civilian use of force, and firearms instruction. After the honeymoon phase of being scared into confidentiality and being made to feel as if this is a 5-Star organization, the feeling quickly fades.

Management here is highly under qualified, under educated, and under challenged. There is very little training for managers and it shows quickly, as the atmosphere anti-professional development. Managers are generally former Marines with only a few years of experience that came over to this job right after separation, and it shows. Low emotional intelligence and managerial skills turn work sites into a game of machismo and a rent-a-cop attitude.

Compensation is on an individual base and generally well below industry standards, but turnover is so high that they can afford to underpay employees for the average two year turnover.

With all of the negative stuff out of the way, I can say that this is a great
  more... stepping stone into law enforcement. There is a lot of downtime (actual downtime where you are looking at monitors and expected to do nothing), so you can finish up school work and other tasks that may need attention while at your work site.

Overall, not recommended but I can appreciate that they allowed me to come and train with them and work a location for about a year. If it sounds like I am being overly negative, the location I worked at had a 100% turnover in the one year I was there, this includes managers.
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Pros
Stepping stone work
Cons
Pay, management, work/life balance, training is poor
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