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Why you should hire ex-HM Forces professionals

The Jonathan Lee blog section is a great place to discover all the latest news and views on the
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​In recent years, we have seen an increased number of employees leaving the HM Forces in favour of civilian professions. Pete Heap, Recruitment Consultant and specialist aerospace and defence expert at Jonathan Lee Recruitment, explores the reasons why military servicemen and women are choosing the private sector and what transferable skills they can offer to employers in their second career.

I have always been acutely aware of the strains that a career in the forces can place on individuals and their families. Whilst attrition from the HM Forces is not a new phenomenon, I find that I am speaking to an increasing number of ex-servicemen and women who have decided that their future career ambitions will be better met in the civilian sector. 

There are many reasons why more individuals are choosing civilian life outside of the recent redundancy program that has seen the numbers of forces employees drastically reduce due to a withdrawal of military troops from places such as Germany and Afghanistan. 

In addition to this, pension and benefits changes have reduced the long-term financial benefit of staying within the military services, it is therefore not as attractive to continue serving. With a decreased headcount overall, the serving soldiers that remain are more frequently expected to deploy on operational tours of duty which understandably increases the strain on individuals with families. 

The candidate skill pool is wide, including engineers, technicians, trainers, administrators, IT managers, drivers, chefs, nurses, pilots, operations managers, facilities managers, project managers and communications experts.  Ex-service personnel offer private companies a multitude of qualities that have been developed and honed through their military training. 

Some of the advantages to prospective employers include:

  • Flexibility and adaptability necessary to fulfil tasks, including working shifts.

  • Structured and disciplined, they are punctual and take pride in doing a good job.

  • High quality education and training background with good qualifications.

  • Confident with a high work ethic.

  • Work well in a team environment and as an individual. 

  • Able to think on their feet with a continuous improvement mentality.

  • Hands-on problem solvers who are generally good under pressure.

  • Strong management and leadership qualities.

  • Realistic salary expectations and a willingness to invest themselves in learning.

  • Flexible on location.

These excellent personal qualities, which have often been tested in highly demanding and pressurised situations, create high calibre candidates for many businesses across sectors.  Whilst aerospace or defence might be a natural career step for many, service organisations can also benefit.  In fact we benefit from having a number of very successful ex-Army, Navy and RAF staff in our recruitment teams at Jonathan Lee!

So, employers – keep an open mind when looking to build your teams, ex-forces professionals possess both technical and leadership capabilities that translate easily into many positions in the engineering and manufacturing sectors.  We have a proven track record of placing people into operations, supply chain, service, engineering, design, maintenance and platform systems manufacturing roles.

If you have left the services and are looking for a change in career or just some advice about your next steps, please get in touch.

Photo credits: © Copyright BrianPritchard, © Crown Copyright. 

Images available for reuse under the OGL (Open Government License).

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