Majority of SMEs overlook military experience on CVs

Employers are favouring charity or volunteering experience over military participation when choosing candidates for roles, research finds.

Fewer than half of employers would look favourably at military experience on a CV – a bias that is causing UK plc to miss out on top employee talent, according to a study commissioned by the Barclays Armed Forces Transition, Employment and Resettlement (AFTER) Programme.

The research asked 2,000 individuals with managerial responsibilities how favourably they would look at a variety of attributes on a CV, including having a university degree, sector experience, speaking a different language, voluntary experience, military experience and participation in a sports team.

While 81 per cent say that they valued IT skills and 66 per cent charity or voluntary experience, only 47 per cent select military experience which ranked the third lowest in the study, just above being sporty (43 per cent) and being well-travelled (42 per cent).

Almost one in ten (8 per cent) employers say that they would look unfavourably on a CV that showed previous military experience.

The study was conducted for the Barclays AFTER programme, which was set up in 2010 to help all veterans, regardless of circumstances, service and rank with their transition into civilian employment.

The programme provides work placements, employment opportunities, CV and interview coaching, and money management sessions, as well as funding for education and vocational courses for service leavers.

Stuart Tootal, chief security officer at Barclays and head of the Armed Forces Transition, Employment & Resettlement (AFTER) Programme says, ‘Ex-servicemen and women have a wealth of experience and an innate skillset that can bring real value to the commercial sector.

‘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.’

Past research into military transitions has discovered a number of misperceptions around service leavers. In a study conducted earlier this year by the charity Combat Stress, 54 per cent of employers said there was a reluctance to hire veterans due to fears they may suffer from psychological injuries.

Separate research commissioned by Lord Ashcroft in 2012 as part of the Veterans’ Transition Review also showed that 91 per cent of the British public thought it was common for former members of the armed forces to have some kind of physical, emotional or mental health problem as a result of their time in the military.

Further reading

Ben Lobel

Ben Lobel

Ben Lobel was the editor of from 2010 to 2018. He specialises in writing for start-up and scale-up companies in the areas of finance, marketing and HR.

Related Topics