Small businesses are overlooking military experience on CVs

26th June, 2015

Research finds that employers favour charity and volunteer work over military experience.

According to a survey commissioned by Barclays’ Armed Forces Transition, Employment and Resettlement (AFTER) programme, less than half of employers would look favourably on the military experience of potential employees.

As part of the survey that involved 2,000 business managers, participants were asked to value a range of attributes that might appear on a CV, such as industry experience, voluntary work, sports team participation, a university degree and the ability to speak a foreign language.

Amongst the most valued attributes for potential candidates to possess were IT skills, with 81% of managers siting this attractive feature on a CV. Charity or voluntary experience also ranked highly, with 66% of those surveyed endorsing this.

However, military experience ranked third lowest in the survey at just 47%, only slightly above being sporty (43%) and being well travelled (42%). In fact, nearly one in ten (8%) of employers said that they would look unfavourably on military experience on a CV.

The Barclays AFTER programme, who carried out the research, was set up in 2010 to help military veterans, regardless of their circumstances, service and rank, make a transition into regular employment.

The programme helps ex-military personnel in a number of ways, including work placements, CV and interview coaching, training and vocational courses and money management sessions.

Former serviceman and Global Head of Security at Barclays, Stuart Tootal, leads the Barclays AFTER programme and was concerned with the findings.

“Ex-servicemen and women have a wealth of experience and an innate skillset that can bring real value to the commercial sector.” He explained.

“From leadership skills to strategic thinking and problem solving, the strengths often displayed by veterans are exactly what the workforce needs. However, the results of this study clearly show that more must be done to help veterans translate these skills in a way that resonates with UK employers.”

Previous research has also uncovered misconceptions surrounding former military personnel. A study carried out by Combat Stress charity earlier in the year found that 54% of employers were dissuaded from hiring ex-servicemen and women due to potential psychological injuries, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Lord Ashcroft commissioned the Veterans’ Transition Review in 2012 and this highlighted the fact that 91% of the general public believed it was common for ex-military personnel to have some form of physical, emotional or mental health problem as a result of their service.