Call for employers to take advantage of military talent

AN influential body of business leaders and managers has added its voice to the call for employers to take advantage of the growing veterans’ talent pool.

The Institute of Leadership and Management published its Tales of Transition report this week to coincide with Armed Forces Day and the 100th anniversary of the end of the First World War.

Business missing out on boosting skills base

The report says businesses are missing out on key opportunities to boost their skills base and productivity by not effectively employing well-qualified ex-military personnel.

It goes on to identity the barriers to helping veterans enter the civilian workplace and details the steps that business leaders could take to support transition into work for former members of the Armed Forces.

It states: “Former military employees make a huge contribution to the civilian workplace. But, our findings suggest service leavers are frequently not afforded opportunities to enter the civilian workforce at a level corresponding to their equivalent military skill sets.

“This not only limits people’s individual capacity to leverage their skills, it limits corporate potential and ultimately UK productivity too. Our research finds service leavers feel disadvantaged when entering the competitive civilian job market; moving from a world where they have defined training and skills, to cultures where they are competing to demonstrate their value and are having to ‘self-promote’ in order to gain appropriate employment. Another challenge is the frequent civilian perception of Armed Forces leavers being ‘damaged goods’.

“For this to change an approach building on existing programmes is needed. If done well it has the potential to improve the transition. This can be achieved through providing greater awareness amongst civilian employers of the opportunities and business case for employing veterans; through to modelling success through case studies in supportive organisations; and through addressing perceptions of military life and military service leavers. It is vitally important all military service leavers have the support they need at an individual level to transition into the civilian work place, particularly those who are most vulnerable.”

Ex-military have skills needed by modern organisations

Kate Cooper, head of research, policy and standards at the ILM, said: “Members of the Armed Forces acquire many new skills and capabilities during their service, the skills and capabilities that modern organisations need now.

“Our research encourages employers and veterans to think again about truly transferable these skills and capabilities really are.”

The institute has established a LinkedIn group to encourage members to ask for advice from other service leavers and offer mentoring  (https://www.linkedin.com/groups/8612319/profile), as well as offering to curate transition resources to allow veterans to find information more easily.

Reports key recommendations

Key recommendations in the report include:

  • Greater integration between charities, contractors and organisations who already deliver support and ‘hiring pipelines’;
  • Curate the wealth of support available from different agencies to enable easier access to information and support. This should also include a glossary of ‘military language’ translated into ‘business language’;
  • Transition organisations should engage more widely with potential employers to address stigmatised perception of veterans and promote awareness, not only of their extensive transferable leadership and teamworking skills but also their propensity to learn new skills rapidly;
  • Increased provision of support for younger leavers at lower ranks, and those with lower literacy and numerical skills Earlier engagement with the resettlement process for both service leavers and potential employing organisations;
  • More attention given in the resettlement package to provide veterans with greater support in understanding the culture of civilian work places, and how their skills translate;
  • Encourage potential civilian employers to develop ‘military pipelines’ and be inquisitive about understanding what veterans have to offer through establishing communications with the MoD;
  • More creative use of work placements and shadowing opportunities;
  • Establish mentoring networks from the community of veterans who have transitioned successfully.

*The Institute of Leadership and Management offers a reduced membership rate for Armed Forces members transitioning into a civilian career. https://www.institutelm.com/membership/membership-grades.html