UK businesses failing to value veterans


what I was missing here Current actions and procedures by the armed forces for placements Stats on paths Success stories. Not limited to HR

Read More Peter Copping
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Many people believe ex-servicemen and -women will struggle to adapt to civilian working lives

Many UK businesses are failing to tap into the talent pool of veterans, according to a study by Deloitte in association with the Officers’ Association and the Forces in Mind Trust.

In the survey 2,000 British adults were asked what challenges they thought armed forces veterans might face when entering the civilian workplace. The research revealed that while 71% of employers say they would consider employing veterans just 39% would employ someone without industry-specific experience; often a major stumbling block for veterans who have only known military service.

Additionally, many people believed ex-servicemen and women would struggle to adapt to civilian working. Nearly two-thirds (65%) thought veterans would probably suffer from some form of physical, emotional or mental health issue such as PTSD, despite official government statistics showing that only 4% of service leavers suffer from the condition. This is broadly equivalent to the incidence rate among the civilian population.

CEO of the Officers’ Association Lee Holloway said misconceptions about ex-military job candidates still abound. “Some of the statistics show a chronic lack of understanding of those leaving the military, which is troubling,” he said.

Catherine Sermon, employment director at Business in the Community, said employers could be doing more to engage veterans. “At a time when many employers are suffering skills shortages and recruitment challenges veterans can represent an attractive talent pool,” she said. “But employers need to take more active, yet simple, steps if they want to be more armed forces-friendly.”

Deloitte partner and head of the company’s ex-military employment programme, Chris Recchia highlighted the benefits of employing veterans. “Since we started our ex-military employment programme at Deloitte we have employed more than 200 veterans, all of whom have flourished and all of whom I can say unequivocally have made a significant contribution to this business’s bottom line,” he said.

“With no formal A-Levels or degree, but 13 years of military service, someone took a gamble on me 17 years ago. I’m proud to say I am now a partner with a firm that is part of the world’s largest professional services network.”

To help employers understand the value of veterans social enterprise The Drive Project has produced a series of films titled Veterans Work. They feature celebrities such as Ray Winstone, Richard Wilson, Clare Balding and Joanna Lumley, who is the daughter of a Royal Gurkha Rifles officer.


An important issue and much more should be done. On an important but minor point... why on earth is HR magazine adopting the Americanism of calling ex-Forces servicemen and women "Veterans"... presumably they will soon be "Vets" here too. Can you please sack the sub editor who allowed this and replace them with someone previously employed in the Forces!


Thanks for your comment, Tim! Collins English Dictionary indicates this is an acceptable use of the word in British English: Check out the campaign from the Drive Project for more info.


what I was missing here Current actions and procedures by the armed forces for placements Stats on paths Success stories. Not limited to HR


This is something I have been looking at for some time now myself, having worked as both a reservist and a regular soldier I know only too well what veterans go through, business just need to look at things in a different way. From day 1 on week 1 in the armed forces we are taught about the core values also known as super six. *Selfless Commitment *Courage *Loyalty *Integrity *Discipline *Respect for others. Who wouldn't want this in an employee and who can hold there hand on there heart and say they have this in even 50% of there current work force. I am working on promoting this myself along with the help of some other Veterans and would love to speak to Chris Recchia from Delloite to see how we can work together to make things happen which again is how we Win battles be it in conflict or business.


The NHS is working hard to address this very problem through the national Step into Health programme. This is the NHS's Armed Forces engagement and recruiting strategy which is open to those leaving the Services as well as veterans and their dependants and spouses. The NHS recognises the transferable skills developed during a career in the Armed Forces as well as the adaptability and resilience of the service families who support them. To support the Armed Forces community, NHS organisations are pledging to review their recruitment practices to remove barriers to this group, to offer a dedicated point of contact to facilitate a discussion about how a potential candidate might find a career and skills match in the NHS and to work with the Career Transition Partnership to specifically market their employment and apprenticeship opportunities to those leaving the Services. So many other organisations could take such simple steps, not because it's the 'right' thing to do but because it makes good business sense.

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