Deployment to Employment: Exploring the veteran employment gap in the UK

“As the skills gap increase in the UK, and the economy faces an uncertain future, it is vital that the skills and abilities of veteran jobseekers are utilised to the benefit of the individuals, their families and UK economy as a whole.”

In a comprehensive review of available research by the Royal British Legion, the charity looks at the most recent veteran employment rates and explores the benefits of recruiting ex-military personnel - showing how the Government and employers can help breakdown the barriers facing military jobseekers.

"There is an overlap between the areas of highest skill shortages and roles within the Armed Forces"

The Royal British Legion’s new policy report - Deployment to Employment: Exploring the veteran employment gap in the UK also shows why it would benefit everyone for the veteran employment gap to be reduced.

“Skill shortages are a cost to the UK in productivity and to individual employers financially. There is an overlap between the areas of highest skill shortages and roles within the Armed Forces, including chefs (17 percent of all Skilled Trades skill-shortage vacancies), Metal Working Production and Maintenance Fitters (13 percent) and Vehicle Technicians, Mechanics and Electricians (13 percent).”  

There is a net gain to all involved if more is done to connect up veterans with roles where their skills can be appreciated and rewarded, said the charity.  

Proposed SaluteMyJob Comments on Deployment to Employment: Exploring the veteran employment gap in the UK

Brigadier Andrew Jackson, Managing Director of SaluteMyJob, said: "This is a valuable report. It shows the widening gap between employers and ex-military jobseekers and the barriers faced by both parties. However, most employers see ex-military people as valuable assets to their businesses.

“In a complex and confusing landscape, the challenge is to ‘join the dots’ between employer and prospective employee and match former Service men and women to the opportunities offered by generally willing employers. This is what SaluteMyJob has been set up to do, with the coordinating systems, technology and expertise to help overcome the barriers and close the gap the report identifies.”

SaluteMyJob endorses the recommendations of the report but has 3 comments:

  1. The RBL reports that, in 2014/15, 85% of Service leavers who used the MOD’s Career Transition partnership made a successful transition into employment. However, this is misleading. The MOD’s own data shows that in the same year over 7,000 Service leavers (37%) did not access the CTP. Over the 5 years, the average is 45%. It is reasonable to assume that those who do not receive outplacement support are unlikely to achieve equally successful employment outcomes as those who do. We recommend further research on the employment outcomes of those not accessing CTP.
  2. The report paints a generally negative view of employers. There is commentary on the barriers faced by veterans; little on the barriers faced by employers. SaluteMyJob’s experience is that, in general, employers’ pledges to support the employment of former Service men and women is genuine and made with enthusiasm. However they are confused by the complexity of the military environment, bombarded by different charities and agencies providing similar services and struggle to access the ex-military talent pool. While the report concludes, rightly, that support is available to veterans, employers find it difficult to access advice, engage on multiple lines of communication and understand the language and the environment. Strategic leadership, coordination and sharing of opportunities are, in SaluteMyJob’s view, the keys to successfully overcome the ‘employment gap’ the report highlights.

  3. While over 1,000 employers have pledged their support to the Armed Forces by signing the Armed Forces Covenant, there their evidence of companies fulfilling their pledges is lacking. SaluteMyJob believes that if the MOD is encouraging employers’ engagement, it has a responsibility to hold them accountable, as indeed employers expect. We recommend that employers are asked to commit to the production of a short annual report, with supporting evidence, on signature of the Covenant.

 

What can SaluteMyJob do to Help?

SaluteMyJob is a Social Enterprise providing veterans’ focussed services to employers and targeted employment support to veterans and reservists. We operate on the principle that we can do the most for the ex-military community by:

1. Driving up demand for veterans and reservists as employees

The evidence that employers are willing to support the Armed Forces and to recruit former Service men and women is there. It is proven by the 1100+ employers that have pledged their support to the Armed Forces community through the MOD Armed Forces Covenant scheme; over 900 of these have pledged to ‘support the employment of veterans young and old’.

However employers are confused and have little understanding of best practice and how to plan and implement a ‘veterans’ or reservist programme. There is a clear and growing demand from employers for expert advice, access to best practice and practical support. SaluteMyJob exist as a consultancy providing professional, veterans’ focussed services to employers, through which we generate demand ‘pull’ for former Service men and women.
 

2. Improving the competitiveness of veterans and reservists for jobs

SaluteMyJob was established to offer professional, veterans’ focused business-to-business services and to guide and support to the ex-military jobseeker on their journey into employment.

SaluteMyJob has developed a new, iterative Explore, Translate and Adapt model to equip jobseekers with the understanding, competitive CVs and preparation they need to win the fight for a job. SaluteMyJob uses IBM’s HR tools to add much needed science and technology to the process, especially to (a) help translate acquired military knowledge, skills and experience into the language of commercial employers and (b) case manage individual ex-military jobseekers into employment.

To read the report in full, go to http://www.britishlegion.org.uk/get-involved/campaign/the-veteran-employment-gap/

For more information about the Services that SaluteMyJob offers go to http://www.salutemyjob.com/about-salutemyjob/