Job Competencies of Border Security Officers in Singapore

  • Y. S. D. Chia
  • W. C. Heng
  • L. Y. Goh
  • C. H. J. AngEmail author


Border security officers are a country’s first line of defense against undesirable people, cargo, and conveyances. Operational lapses could therefore greatly undermine the safety and security of the country. As such, informed understanding of border security officers’ competencies is crucial to ensure that the right individuals are selected for the job. An exploratory job analysis study was conducted with Singapore’s border security officers to identify the knowledge, skills, abilities, and other characteristics (KSAOs) essential for effective job performance. Data collection for this study includes collection of qualitative data on border security officers’ job functions, tasks, and KSAOs required. The information was subsequently compiled into a Job Analysis Survey (JAS), where officers were asked to rate the KSAOs in terms of their importance and frequency of use in border security work. Results indicated that the major job functions performed by non-supervisory officers include primary immigration clearance of travelers and goods, while those performed by supervisory officers include secondary clearance and people management. Analysis of the list of KSAOs derived from the Job Analysis results revealed that there was generally a large overlap of KSAOs essential for both non-supervisory and supervisory officers to perform their job well. Some differences were observed as well due to the slightly different nature of work undertaken by the two groups of officers. The results of the present study along with its implications were further explored in the paper.


Job analysis Singapore border security Immigration KSAOs Selection Exploratory study 



No funding was required for the conduct of this research.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Ethical Statement

In line with the Ethical Standards required of the journal, and in compliance with the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE) guidelines, the following have been put in place in the conduct of this research.

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


  1. Air Hub (2018) Retrieved from Accessed 14 Dec 2018
  2. California Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training (1999) Entry-level uniformed patrol officer job analysis. Retrieved from Accessed 14 Dec 2018
  3. Castle TL, Martin JS (2006) Occupational hazard: predictors of stress among jail correctional officers. Am J Crim Justice 31(1):65–80CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Chhabra M, Chhabra B (2013) Emotional intelligence and occupational stress: a study of Indian border security force personnel. Police Pract Res 14(5):355–370CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Clifford JP (1994) Job analysis: why do it, and how should it be done? Public Personnel Management 23(2):321–340CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Cumings L, Coryn CLS (2009) A job analysis for K-8 principals in a nationwide charter school system. Journal of Multidisciplinary Evaluation 6(12):157–176Google Scholar
  7. Finney C, Stergiopoulos E, Hensel J, Bonato S, Dewa CS (2013) Organisational stressors associated with job stress and burnout in correctional officers: a systematic review. BMC Public Health 13(1):1–13CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Foster MR (2005) Effective job analysis methods. In Condrey, S. E. (Ed.), Handbook of Human Resources Management in Government Google Scholar
  9. Guest G, Bunce A, Johnson L (2006) How many interviews are enough? An experiment with data saturation and variability. Field Methods 18(1):59–82CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Harrington JM (2001) Health effects of shift work and extended hours of work. Occup Environ Med 58:68–72CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Huang PB, Yu T, Chou Y, Lin Y (2016) Simulation method for dispatching national border security manpower to mitigate manpower shortage. J Air Transp Manag 57:43–51CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. IATA (2018) Traveler Numbers Reach New Heights. Retrieved from Accessed 14 Dec 2018
  13. ICA Annual (2017) Retrieved from Accessed 14 Dec 2018
  14. Kitzman BC, Stanard SJ (1999) The job of a police chief in the state of Illinois. Public Personnel Management 28(3):473–499CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Malach-Pines A, Keinan G (2006) Stress and burnout in Israeli border police. Int J Stress Manag 13(4):519–540CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Meloun JM (2008) Job analysis: the basis of all things H.R. Handbook of hospitality human resources management. Elsevier, OxfordGoogle Scholar
  17. Mullins WC (1985) Improving police officer training: the use of job analysis procedures and assessment center technology. J Police Crim Psychol 1(1):2–9CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Ng J (2016) Guardians of our borders: Frontline ICA officers give their all. Retrieved from Accessed 14 Dec 2018
  19. O*Net Online (2018) Summary report for immigration and customs inspectors. Retrieved from Accessed 14 Dec 2018
  20. Ogle AD, Barron LG, Fedotova AV (2016) Job analysis of United States air Force military training instructor duty: identification of screening criteria for instructor candidate suitability. Mil Psychol 28(1):50–63CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Patterson F, Ferguson E, Thomas S (2008) Using job analysis to identify core and specific competencies: implications for selection and recruitment. Med Educ 42:1195–1204CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Paullin C, Sinclair AL, Moriarty KO, Vasilopoulos NL, Campbell RC, Russell TL (2011) Army officer job analysis: identifying performance requirements to inform officer selection and assignment. Retrieved from Accessed 14 Dec 2018
  23. Prien EP, Goodstein LD, Goodstein J, Gamble LG (2009) A practical guide to job analysis. Pfeiffer, San Francisco, CAGoogle Scholar
  24. Shetterly DR, Krishnamoorthy A (2008) Job characteristics of officers and agents: result of a national job analysis. Public Personnel Management 37(1):111–131CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Singapore Tourism Board (2018) Tourism Statistics 2017. Retrieved from Accessed 14 Dec 2018
  26. Sproule CF, Berkley S (2001) The selection of entry-level corrections officers: Pennsylvania research. Public Personnel Management 30(3):377–418CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. The World Factbook (2018) Retrieved from Accessed 14 Dec 2018
  28. Top 50 World Container Ports (2018) Retrieved from Accessed 14 Dec 2018

Copyright information

© Society for Police and Criminal Psychology 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Personnel and Organisational Psychology BranchICA Psychological ServicesSingaporeSingapore

Personalised recommendations