Time For Positive Change

Posted: 8th Sep 2020

Time For Positive Change

Lee Holloway, CEO of the Officers’ Association (OA) shares the findings of a new Opinium survey of employers and officers and sets out how the organisation is boosting its employment services to meet the challenges of a post-Covid jobs market.

It has become clear that Covid-19 is a once in a 100 years health crisis that is creating major turbulence for economies across the world.

As everyone struggles to adjust to the new normal, the OA’s growing business network has had to rise to so many new and unexpected challenges, which will inevitably have an impact on recruitment practices in the months and years to come.

The OA is increasingly focused on upgrading the quality and range of its employment services so that we can become the ‘go to’ organisation for serving and former officers to approach for specialist recruitment advice. It does not matter how far off your transition is, or if you moved across to civilian employment some years ago, we want to help you achieve your new career goals.

That’s why we have used the last few months to carry out an independent Opinium survey.  We have canvassed the views of a major cross-section of employers and a substantial cohort of serving and former officers, to find out exactly how the Officers’ Association can deliver the services that are right for employers and officer job seekers, to succeed in today’s changing jobs market.

Getting match-fit for a new season like no other was never going to be pain-free. We went into this research with our eyes open, as we knew that we would have work to do and employers and officers alike did not pull their punches!

"If ever there was a time for a change and an opportunity to update and modernise, this is it."

What was particularly encouraging was the value that they placed on the organisation’s integrity, expertise and knowledge of the jobs market.

Although coming at it from very different angles, both groups recognised the OA’s role - that of a military tri-service charity engaged in supporting serving and former officers into civilian employment - thus creating a unique modus operandi at the heart of its service offerings.

Best described in a recent word cloud, by our Employment team, and now proudly displayed on the wall of our new Reading office.

Opinium Survey Highlights  

Serving and former officers identified four key areas where they needed the OA’s support:

  • to help translate military service and experience into something meaningful and relevant to civilian audiences
  • to help explain what the commercial world expects and is looking for
  • to provide an up-to-date alumni network of past Service leavers who have successfully moved to civilian employment, in different sectors, able to offer informal advice
  • to help educate employers so that they have a better understanding of what ex-service personnel can bring to their organisation and business.

The OA’s one-to-one career consultations were clearly identified, as the organisation’s premium service offering. From September, we will provide four different types of consultations, available either virtually or face to face (with social distancing in place)

  • Full career consultation with CV review
  • Pre-decision consultation/ general discussion
  • CV Review
  • LinkedIn review

Our experienced career consultants, Fiona, Lisa, and Jo would be pleased to hear from you.

You will need to register with the OA before booking an appointment. To find out more go to www.officerssassociation.org.uk.

Meanwhile, employers wanted the OA to help broaden their understanding of serving and former officers:

  • to recognise that commercial employment often involved more hands-on roles in less rigid working environments
  • to consider that compromise on status and salary might be necessary to enter an organisation at a lower level
  • to appreciate that different types of businesses, smaller ones in particular, had fewer formal structures with little hierarchy and quite different operational cultures, and
  • by working with employers to develop more Insight and Mentoring days to bring greater understanding on both sides.

It was worth noting that when it came to promotion, former officers once established in their new roles often made swift progress to more senior levels.

When it came to upgrades, officers and employers were united in their desire to see the quality bar raised on the OA Jobs Board, so that the job seekers and job advertisers had a much-improved user experience. Employers recognised that the OA often helped them to fill more specialist roles but wanted the ability to track candidates and to tell them more about the company, its mission and culture.

We have listened and are taking action. The OA is in advanced discussions with recruitment IT specialists and our new employment platform will be operational early in the New Year.

Employers also told us that they needed the OA to stand out from the crowd when it came to networking events and creating opportunities for employers to engage with future candidates. Again, we have listened, and our autumn and winter events schedule will have some welcome new additions. At the request of serving and former officers, we are also strengthening the OA network of former Service leavers already in employment and increasing the opportunities for informal contact.

There will be many other changes and upgrades over the coming months, which Laura Blair, our new Director of Employment Services and I will look forward to unveiling.

We may be facing a challenging time ahead but whatever the timing of your future career plans, the Officers’ Association can help you get ready to compete in today’s ever-changing job market.

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