Joanna Lumley, Ray Winstone, Larry Lamb, Hugh Bonneville and Nick Knowles are just some of the well-known faces encouraging employers to hire ex-service personnel. They all feature in Veterans Work: The Films, premiered by Deloitte UK with the Officers’ Association, and showcasing the value of hiring veterans into UK plc – something Liz Coombs, associate Director Global Business Tax says is a win/win.
What comes to mind when you hear the word “veteran”? Well some assume it is an American term and do not even associate it with our UK armed forces, while others think that veterans are old soldiers from WWII.
Yet, the reality is that a veteran could be a 26-year old woman with cyber skills.
Each year around 16,000 men and women leave the UK’s armed forces and they bring with them some of the most sought-after skills sets as well as a great work ethic. Sadly, many organisations on civvy street fail to value what they offer or recognise their potential. As a result, more than half of the 700,000 veterans in employment in the UK have jobs in low paid or routine occupations that don’t make full use of their skills.
That is why the three Veterans Work films, which were made by The Drive Project, have the potential to be so powerful in changing attitudes. By telling the stories of veterans who have transitioned successfully into the workplace, sharing the experiences of CEOs who have hired ex-service personnel and conveying the passionate support of some well-known faces, we want to challenge perceptions.
As Larry Lamb says in one of the films, it is time for employers to "look past the rigid pre-set hiring criteria".
We know from our research that when organisations do employ veterans the results are incredibly positive.
Nine in ten organisations that have employed veterans see them not just as holding a few specialist skills but, crucially, as performing well across a range of areas particularly relating to communication, planning and time management, team-working, leading and inspiring others, and being able to pick up specialist knowledge and solve problems.
So it is probably no surprise that more than seven in ten organisations with active ex-military recruitment programmes would definitely recommend employing veterans. Crucially, many of the skills that veterans possess are in areas where organisations are experiencing gaps. In fact, if you map skills shortages and the skills ex-service personnel possess, there is an almost perfect match. Any employer struggling to find the right staff should also bear in mind that there are plenty of them – it is estimated that former service personnel make up the third largest talent pool in the UK. Fortunately, more and more employers are getting the message with a growing number of signing up to the Armed Forces Corporate Covenant - Deloitte included.
But there is only so much one employer can do which is why we are asking employers to share these films with their clients and supply chain.
At this time of year when we remember the service our armed forces have given to the nation, why not consider the service they can give your organisation.