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Military service undervalued by employers


Military service is not given the respect it deserves in civilian employment, according to a study by the Barclays Armed Forces Transition, Employment and Resettlement (AFTER) programme.

Almost one in 10 employers (8%) would look unfavourably on military service on a CV, and 54% were reluctant to hire veterans because of fears they may suffer from psychological ill health. 

Less than half (47%) of respondents said they would value military experience, ranking it the third least valued attribute in the study. Only being sporty (43%) and being well travelled (42%) ranked below it. 

Stuart Tootal, chief security officer at Barclays and head of the AFTER programme, said that such perceptions are highly misguided, and that ex-servicemen and women have a wealth of experience that can bring value to the commercial sector. 

“From leadership skills to strategic thinking and problem solving, the strengths often displayed by veterans are exactly what the workforce needs.

“However, the results of this study clearly show that more must be done to help veterans translate these skills in a way that resonates with UK employers,” he added.

Separate research commissioned by Lord Ashcroft in 2012 as part of the Veterans’ Transition Review corroborates the AFTER study’s findings. It revealed that 91% of the British public thought it was common for former members of the armed forces to suffer physical, emotional or mental health problems as a result of their time in the military.

However, at the time Lord Ashcroft stressed that service leavers as a whole are no more likely to experience such issues than the general population.

“As well as doing a superb job of protecting our freedom around the world, the armed forces are perhaps the biggest and best training and apprenticeship scheme we have, and a remarkable engine of social mobility,” he said.

“Not surprisingly, most of those leaving the forces go on to do well in civilian life.”