New Data From Deloitte Reveals 'Stark Disconnect Between The Rhetoric And The Reality' Of Veteran Employment

A comprehensive report, published today (18th November) by Deloitte in collaboration with Armed Forces charities the Forces in Mind Trust (FiMT) and the Officers’ Association, reveals a “stark disconnect between the rhetoric and the reality” of veteran employment.

‘Veterans Work: Recognising the potential of ex-Service personnel’ highlights that – despite more than 1,000 businesses signing the Armed Forces Covenant – UK business is, in practice, putting Service leavers at a disadvantage. The research found that while 71% of employers say they would consider employing veterans, just 39% would employ someone without industry specific experience. Three-hundred employers contributed to the research, which revealed access to high-skilled employment remains patchy and uneven among service leavers, who typically fall back on lower-paid or lower-skilled jobs, such as machine operating and security guarding.


What are some of the key findings of the research?

  • UK business overlooks the potential of veterans’ to fill skills gap
  • 71% of organisations say they would consider employing veterans but just 39% would employ someone with no industry specific experience
  • 95% of those employing veterans agree they are strong in the ‘soft skills’ needed for the positions that over 30% of businesses are struggling to fill
  • Report calls for a national strategy and commission for veterans’ employment


Key Findings In More Detail

  • The statistics show that although 87% of employers are aware of organisations, programmes or recruitment services designed to specifically support veterans, only 24% use them. Because access to high-skilled employment remains patchy and uneven among service leavers, veterans typically fall back on lower paid, routine jobs, the study finds.
  • This means employers are failing to make the most of the ‘soft skills’ veterans possess. According to the figures, 36% of businesses find it hard to fill roles demanding strategic management skills, 32% struggle to fill positions involving managing and motivating staff, and 30% jobs requiring team working.
  • Those employing veterans agree they are particularly strong in communication, planning and time management (95%) and team working (100%). As a result, more than half (53%) of businesses that do employ veterans promote them quicker than the rest of the workforce.



  • The report calls on policymakers to find a better balance between the short-term, tactical objective of placing Service leavers into employment, with the long-term alternative of developing veterans’ transferable skills and vocational qualifications. As well as improving the collection of veteran data, the study recommends policymakers consider a national strategy and commission for veterans’ employment, working alongside the Defence Skills Strategy. This would help to ensure that both the spirit and the letter of the Armed Forces Covenant are followed and that members of the armed forces are recognised to be beneficial for UK business.
  • In the report, Managing Director of SaluteMyJob, Andrew Jackson highlights that ex-military jobseekers are, too often, not proving to be competitive candidates for the jobs for which they are applying. This is illustrated by SaluteMyJob’s own data that showed, “out of the candidates we are currently supporting, only 20% (57 of 261) of our active jobseekers are, in our judgement, competitive candidates”. Within the report, Mr Jackson also discussed the skills veterans can bring to the workplace, highlights the challenges facing both veterans and employers and offers guidance on what more could be done to support veteran employment.

Mr Jackson’s recommendations in the report include:

  1. Provision of targeted, professional support – such as that provided by SaluteMyJob, in partnership with the Service charities – available widely to ex-military jobseekers, to add value to CTP.
  2. Some employers work very hard to support veterans. Others, including many who have pledged to ‘support the employment of veterans young and old’ when signing the Armed Forces Covenant fail to turn their pledges into sustained action. In particular, a meaningful job needs to be seen as the outcome, not the singular offer an employer makes to a former Service man or woman. Indeed, the offer to apply for a job is meaningless if the candidate is unaware of it, ineligible, uncompetitive, lacks requisite commercial experience or is ill-educated about the relevant industry sector or company. The best support employers can offer is education, training, paid placements or internships and mentoring; with these in place, successful job outcomes will follow, along with the solution to an endemic problem of veterans’ transition into employment in the private sector.
  3. An engine or brokerage to match jobseekers to the increasing opportunities provided by employers. For example, SaluteMyJob’s Veteran Employment Support Service (VETS) will, over time, ‘join the dots’ between the many isolated, often invisible (to the ex-military jobseeker) activities conducted by employers and other agencies and match the right jobseeker to the right opportunity. This technology enabled, professional service is a single engine providing an employment service to veterans and a recruitment service to employers.

Brigadier Andrew Jackson, Managing Director of SaluteMyJob, said:

“This is a valuable report from Deloitte which shows how much employers can do, both to help veterans realise their potential as they are assets to businesses large and small.”


Chris Recchia, partner and head of Deloitte’s military transition and talent programme, said:

“There is a stark disconnect between the rhetoric and the reality of veteran employment. We want to galvanise UK companies into greater awareness about what veterans can bring to their business. Employers have told us there is a skills gap and our research shows that the vast majority of veterans have the skills to fill that gap. Business leaders need to understand in no uncertain terms that hiring veterans is not just the right thing to do, it also makes business sense. We have a collective responsibility to get this right. The framework for veterans to gain employment is in place but we want to build on the work already done. It is not just about the push from veterans into corporate life, it should also be about the pull from organisations who recognise what veterans have to offer. We need to put in place a level playing field and shine a light on the challenges some veterans face to secure relevant employment. There is a huge opportunity to fully employ veterans’ skills and experience, our research demonstrates that employing veterans is an act of business, not charity.”

To read the full report, go to: