· 1 min read · News

UK businesses failing to value veterans


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.