Female Veterans Face Extra Barriers to Civilian Employment

Research from the Barclays AFTER (Armed Forces Transition, Employment & Resettlement) Programme shows that Service leavers often face ignorance and prejudice when job hunting, with women experiencing this to an even greater extent.

On average, it takes a veteran four months to find a civilian job, rising to five months for female veterans. Upon further analysis, 39% of male veterans will find a job within a month, compared to 21% of female veterans. 30% of veterans had experienced inappropriate interview questions, with more than a quarter of women asked if they knew how to act and dress in a feminine way, and a third of men asked if they ever shot or killed anyone.

To combat these issues 44% of female Service leavers have undertaken additional training when looking for civilian roles compared to 28% of men. In fact, female veterans are more likely to take additional steps at every stage of the job hunting process than either their male counterparts or civilians. This includes sending out nearly double the number of CVs, attending more interviews and completing more work placements.

The challenges veterans face in finding civilian jobs, especially women, demonstrates the misunderstandings that many hiring managers have on the reality and value of a military career. This view is supported by the Veterans Work – Employment Report, which was compiled by Deloitte with contributions from the OA and Forces in Mind Trust (FiMT). Whilst 71% of medium and large organisations say they would consider employing veterans, only 39% would consider employing someone with no industry experience.

Sophia Koniarska, OA Director of Programmes and Partnerships, said: “We know that military is good for business, because veterans have gone through some of the toughest training programmes in the world. This makes them well equipped to tackle the management challenges faced in today’s economy. We challenge employers to make the most of this untapped potential, especially if you are looking to diversify leadership within your organisation.”

Rachel Scandling (picture above), a former Royal Navy Commander and Global Head of Large Shareholdings Operations at Barclays Investment Bank, said: “After 28 years serving in the Royal Navy, the decision to leave and take-up a new career was not straight forward. During my initial job search, I found that military experience didn’t necessarily carry the credibility you would expect with civilian employers; many didn’t understand the unique skills that we bring. For me, one of the most challenging aspects of my career shift was overcoming stereotypes to communicate my skills to employers who lacked a true understanding of military experience.”

Find out more about Veterans Work.