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Ex-military employees – the underappreciated resource?

Where do your employees come from? Or, put another way, what ‘talent pool’ do you fish in? Whether it’s an online jobs board, the local paper, a professional trade journal, or employee referrals, most employers have a go-to source of new recruits. You’ll have your favourites, like anyone else, but have you ever considered ex-services personnel?

A recent survey by SSAFA

Armed Forces charity SSAFA (Soldiers’, Sailors’ and Airmen’s Families Association) have surveyed 250 recruiters and over 2,000 UK workers about their attitudes to working with ex-military candidates and colleagues. The results show that often, the door isn’t exactly open.

  • 31% of recruiters would be reluctant to take on ex-military.
  • 46% expressed concern about possible mental health issues.
  • 48% of workers, however, said they would be comfortable working with an ex-services colleague, with 43% saying they would be proud to do so.
  • However, a small number of responses (8%) labelled them “aggressive” and “short-tempered” (6%).

Benefits of hiring ex-services candidates

Firstly, ex-military personnel are hardly inexperienced. Many have been fully trained in a profession or possess specific technical abilities (examples include engineers, technicians, trainers, administrators, IT managers, drivers, chefs, nurses, pilots, operations managers, facilities managers, project managers and communications experts). Furthermore, the nature and demands of military work tends to mean skills in planning and organising, teamwork, communication, performance management and leadership.

Add to this that ex-services people are used to working in (let’s say) ‘challenging’ environments and may well have been proficient in the use of the latest technology, and the potential benefits begin to stack up.

Such skills and experience tend to be highly transferable to life and work in a civilian world. And appreciated as such: the SSAFA survey found that believed that ex-military colleagues are or would be team players (57%), problem solvers (42%), and display resilience (41%).

The Career Transition Partnership

The Career Transition Partnership (CTP) is a Ministry of Defence initiative that looks to connect ex-services personnel with civilian employers. CTP is essentially a free recruitment service, dealing with ex-military candidates. The focus is three-fold:

  1. Creating strategic relationships with employer groups with a view to identifying suitable vacancies.
  2. Working with employers.
  3. Researching the needs of different sectors in relation to ex-services personnel.

In case none of the above has convinced you to at least take a look at the ex-military recruitment market, consider that CTP alone assists over 14,000 service leavers into the civilian job market each year. There’s no claim here that ex-services personnel are somehow ‘better’ than other potential employees (and definitely not worse) just that this is an- often-neglected source of recruitment that employers in search of the best candidate cannot afford to ignore.

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