Businesses urged to take advantage of veteran talent pool

BANKING chiefs have conducted a series of unique experiments to provide hard evidence about the benefits veterans can bring to businesses.

With more than 14,000 skilled and experienced individuals leaving the Armed Forces each year, ex-military personnel can prove a valuable source of transferable skills for businesses looking to recruit.

Ian Rand, a former Army major and now Chief Executive Officer of business banking at Barclays, set out to challenge misconceptions around hiring military veterans.

“All too often, employers are missing a trick by overlooking the transferrable skills ex-military personnel have – skills which could add real value to their business,” he said. “At a time when there is a growing economic need to improve the productivity of the UK workforce, businesses simply cannot afford to overlook this impressive talent pool.”

As part of their work supporting military jobseekers, Barclays conducted an experiment which saw veterans undertake a series of game-based psychometric tests to assess them against key performance traits in the workplace.

Ian said: “The results of the research provided tangible evidence of what we’ve been witnessing first-hand for years at Barclays: that veterans have exactly the right skills and culture to add real value to our workforce. Veterans out-performed their civilian peers across a number of key areas, scoring highly for social influence, creativity, rational decision making, emotional resilience and dealing with ambiguity.”

Service leavers taking the tests also excelled in leadership, creative thinking and emotional stability.

Ian said: “For me, this is one of the most powerful findings of the experiment, as our previous research has shown that a third of veterans feel that perceptions around mental health issues relating to time served in the armed forces, such as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), are detrimental to their career progression in the civilian job market.

“Our world is changing more rapidly than ever before, and no business or industry is immune.  In this environment some of the skills trained into military personnel come to the fore.  They are trained to deal with ambiguity, to make decisions rapidly when not all the facts are available, and to be resilient to the impact of constant change.  Every business can benefit from these skills.”

The tests demonstrate how service leavers come with a comprehensive range of hard and soft skills, making them suitable for a wide variety of civilian jobs.

As well as excelling in communications, leadership, organisation and problem-solving skills, veterans are also pre-programmed to be loyal and professional.

Specific military trades can also provide ideal candidates for civilian roles including project management, health and safety, security, cybersecurity, logistics and engineering.

SalutemyJob managing director, Brigadier (Retd) Andrew Jackson, said a shift in the thinking around ex-forces personnel was needed.

“It is time to stop portraying veterans as victims and start seeing them as the assets they are to businesses and communities,” he said.

“SaluteMyJob helps ex-forces jobseekers translate their acquired military knowledge, skills and experience into the language of commercial employers. Our vision is to join the dots between the hundreds of employers offering thousands of jobs to the thousands of ex-military people needing help to find the right job in the right organisation.”

For more information about how your business could benefit from recruiting ex-forces personnel, check out Business In The Community’s toolkit on how to capitalise on military talent.

The full article appeared in Business Voice, the magazine of the CBI.