MANCHESTER - 24th July | LONDON - 31st October
Ship's company and embarked personnel wave to families and friends as the ship returns to Portsmouth after a 7 month deployment. HMS QUEEN ELIZABETH RETURNS HOME AS HISTORIC GLOBAL DEPLOYMENT ENDS On 9TH December, 2021 the flagship of the UK Carrier Strike Group, HMS Queen Elizabeth, has returned to Portsmouth after her historic 7 month global deployment. The ship, squadrons and marines of the Carrier Strike Group return to their home bases across the UK, US and the Netherlands. The 3700 sailors, aviators and marines from nine ships, a submarine, five air squadrons and a company of Royal Marines have made it home having waved goodbye to families back in early May.

Looking for ex-military jobs? Here’s where to start

There will be a lot to think about, from housing to finances. But one of the most pressing concerns will almost certainly be how to transition into the civilian workforce and find a role that can be turned into a new career. There are lots of jobs for veterans in the UK, it’s just a case of knowing where to look.

How can ex-military personnel find jobs?

Finding a job that makes the most of the skills and experiences you’ve developed over your years in the armed forces can seem like a tricky prospect. For instance, many military leavers may worry that employers won’t understand or value their skills, or think they will be reluctant to hire veterans due to inaccurate negative stereotypes.

Is it hard to find a job after the military?

Many ex-military personnel have indeed reported difficulties trying to integrate into the civilian workforce. Some of the common issues encountered include:

  • Employers not understanding military qualifications or terminology
  • A lack of higher civilian qualifications
  • Worries among recruiters over the potential for mental health issues

While many of the fears employers may have are misplaced, there remains a wariness to consider military leavers in some quarters. For instance, one study by armed forces charity SSAFA found 31 per cent of recruiters said they would be reluctant to employ someone who had previously served.

Other issues may stem from a lack of confidence or experience among leavers when it comes to navigating the civilian jobs market. For example, many ex-military personnel may find it difficult to draft a CV that works effectively for non-military recruiters, or be unsure about what to expect during an interview. In some cases, they may have never needed such skills before and so might not know where to start, or what skills and experiences to emphasise.

These are some of the reasons why, according to a report by the Royal British Legion, UK veterans are less likely to be in full-time work than the overall population and nearly twice as likely to be unemployed.

This emphasises the importance of having resources to turn to that are dedicated to helping ex-military personnel make the transition to a civilian career.

What skills does military service teach you that can be applied to civilian jobs?

It’s important to remember that in many cases, the skills and experience that you’ve picked up in the military are in high demand among civilian employers. In many cases, it will simply be a matter of framing your achievements in the right way and demonstrating how your transferable skills can be applied to civilian life.

For example, some of the most useful skills that many military leavers possess that will stand them in good stead in other jobs include:

  • Teamwork
  • Leadership
  • Adaptability
  • Communication
  • Planning and problem solving
  • Discipline
  • Resourcefulness
  • Dedication

What’s more, these are just the essential skills that every military leaver should have in their locker, regardless of role. On top of these, many specific roles within the military are likely to have equipped you with a variety of more technical skills that will be in high demand in the civilian sector.

What are the most in-demand ex-military jobs?

According to the Royal British Legion, former military personnel are often ideally-placed to take advantage of skills shortages in some of the UK’s key sectors. It noted that some of the most transferable skills that are in demand in the civilian workforce include:

  • Engineering
  • Project management
  • Communications
  • Logistics
  • IT

In fact, there are a wide range of jobs out there that will be well-suited to former military personnel from all three services. Let’s take a look at just a few examples from across the armed forces to show how specific military skills can be adapted to civilian life.

  • Aircraft fitter – A common role in the Royal Air Force, these personnel are ideally suited to transfer to jobs such as electrical or mechanical engineering in areas such as the energy industry and the civilian aviation manufacturing sector.
  • Submarine operations – For those leaving the Royal Navy from these roles, hi-tech communications, IT security and programming offer great prospects for career paths it will be relatively straightforward to transfer into.
  • Special forces – Those with a special forces background in the British Army may transfer their skills to law enforcement or private security in sectors that have the highest levels of demand for professionalism and trustworthiness, such as the security services or the nuclear power sector.
  • MI5 – Security service roles are particularly good jobs for veterans in the UK, as understanding the importance of discretion on a mission is key.

Where can you find support for veterans?

There are plenty of options available to help ex-forces personnel make the transition into civilian life. For instance, many employers have signed up to the Armed Forces Covenant to demonstrate their support for veterans, which includes focusing on these individuals in the recruitment process.

There are over 10,000 organisations taking part in this initiative, and the government awards Gold, Silver and Bronze awards to those enterprises that show particular commitment to hiring and supporting veterans.

There are also a number of charitable organisations and government schemes to assist with making the transition to civilian life as smooth as possible. These can help with everything from CV writing to interview preparation, as well as identifying skills that will be of most value to employers.

Why use forces recruitment events and services?

Turning to specialist recruitment services and jobs boards can be a great way to find employers that are aware of the benefits of hiring ex-military personnel. What’s more, taking advantage of dedicated networking events such as VeteranUK offers a perfect opportunity to learn more about what options are available and meet prospective employers face-to-face.

Such events can be great if you’re looking to transition into a particular industry, where you can network directly with relevant recruiters. Moreover, they can be especially valuable to those who may not be certain about what direction they should be taking on leaving the UK armed forces. By meeting with representatives from some of the UK’s biggest employers of ex-military personnel, you can gain an idea of the types of experience they’re looking for and what options will fit best into your skillset.

In addition, these events are a great way to find more information on dedicated training courses to provide you with additional civilian qualifications, or talk to specialist forces recruitment services. Many of these are run by former veterans, so they’ll understand exactly what help will be needed to find you the right position for your post-military career.

What are security cleared jobs?

One area in which having an armed forces background is likely to be a significant advantage is jobs that require security clearance. This can cover a wide variety of roles, but it’s especially common to require such clearances for IT, cybersecurity and engineering jobs in key sectors such as government, energy, utilities, communications and hi-tech manufacturing.

Ex-military personnel are especially well-placed to secure the high levels of clearance required for these jobs, as they will typically possess key qualities such as professionalism, trustworthiness and integrity that are essential in passing any checks. As well as opening up new doors to exciting careers post-military, jobs in sectors that require security clearances often come with increased pay rates compared to similar roles elsewhere.

Photo credits

© Crown copyright

© Crown copyright 2022