Veterans, or those who have served in the Armed Forces, face negative stereotypes when applying for jobs, according to a survey released today (8th October) by the Forces in Mind Trust (FiMT). The new YouGov survey reveals nearly one fifth (18%) of UK senior decision makers with hiring responsibilities are unlikely to consider hiring veterans, mostly due to negative perceptions of their time spent in the Armed Forces.

Of the negative perceptions held by potential employers, the most common is that veterans do not have the relevant skills or experience (44%). This is followed by a belief that they may not fit the culture of the workplace (19%); skills from active duty may not translate into a business environment (18%); or they may have different levels of education from those expected of civilian workers (11%).

Over a quarter of the organisations polled in the research (27%) have never hired a veteran and 10% of organisations don’t believe taking advantage of the skillsets of veterans would bring value to their organisation. However, nearly two-thirds (63%) of employers polled in the survey believe hiring veterans helps contribute to the diversity of their organization. The smaller organizations polled in the survey ranked as the least likely to consider hiring a veteran (65%) whilst the larger organizations ranked as most likely (87%).

The Veteran Employment research was commissioned by FiMT, whose mission is to enable ex-Service personnel and their families to make a successful and sustainable transition to civilian life. Over 1,000 senior decision makers were polled in the research, including private, public and third sector organizations of all sizes.

The research is part of FiMT’s core Employment Programme which aims to ensure that no ex-Service person, or their spouse or partner, is disadvantaged in achieving a successful employment outcome. The FiMT Employment Programme is focused on bringing about change in two areas:

• Ex-Service personnel having the right skills and understanding, receiving the right support and preparing appropriately.

• Employers understanding the skills and potential of Service leavers, and being able to access and harness the veteran workforce.

Ray Lock, Chief Executive at FiMT says:

“The fact that many organizations would not consider hiring veterans due to negative perceptions of their time spent serving in the Armed Forces, highlights the misunderstanding that veterans are unskilled or unfit for business environments. Such misunderstandings are unfounded and damaging to veterans’ employment opportunities. Employers must ensure these unhelpful perceptions are addressed in their recruitment processes, so that they benefit from the skills that veterans can bring to their organization.”

“Veterans gain strong leadership, communications, management and STEM skills from their time spent serving in the Armed Forces. As the UK currently faces a STEM skills shortage, and the evolving world of work cries out for better leadership and collaboration, employers would do well to tap into veterans’ talent to the benefit of both veterans and UK organizations.”

“Our research demonstrates that Government must strengthen its strategy for translating and accrediting skills, experience and qualifications gained in the Armed Forces for the civilian world. We need to increase awareness and understanding among civilian employers of how Service leavers’ skills fit their recruitment needs. Together these will help the annual 14,000 Service leavers to find fulfilling employment, and the many UK businesses to improve their performance.”

Andrew Armes, UK Head of Talent Acquisition, Roche Products Ltd says:

“At Roche we believe that inclusivity is the key to our business success as it underpins innovation. Veterans have valuable skills that will help us with our future business needs and transformation as a business. By tackling any negative perceptions and attitudinal issues we can learn a lot. We are delighted to be partnering with Forces in Mind Trust to help address stereotypes and help unlock potential.”

During the first month of the Employment Programme, FiMT is partnering with Roche, the multinational healthcare company, to host a conference on 8th October challenging employers’ negative stereotypes of veterans. Following this, FiMT will host an event for senior politicians and business leaders to galvanise action.



Ray Lock is available for interview. To arrange please contact James Gillies at / 020 7700 6952 or Ana Carvallo-Phillips, / 020 7700 6952.

About the Forces in Mind Trust (FiMT):

FiMT came about from a partnership between the Big Lottery Fund (‘the Fund’), Cobseo (The Confederation of Service Charities) and other charities and organisations. FiMT continues the Fund’s long-standing legacy of support for veterans across the UK with an endowment of £35 million awarded in 2012.

The mission of FiMT is to enable ex-Service personnel and their families make a successful and sustainable transition to civilian life, and it delivers this mission by generating an evidence base that influences and underpins policy making and service delivery.

FiMT awards grants (for both responsive and commissioned work) to support its change model around 6 outcomes in the following areas: Housing; Employment; Health and wellbeing; Finance; Criminal Justice System; and Relationships. All work is published in open access and hosted on the Forces in Mind Trust Research Centre’s Veterans and Families Research Hub. A high standard of reportage is demanded of all grant holders so as to provide a credible evidence base from which better informed decisions can be made.

Useful links:

Who we have helped:
Twitter: @FiMTrust
About the Mental Health Research Programme:

About the research:

All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 1282 adults who are senior decision makers with responsibility in HR in UK businesses. Fieldwork was undertaken between 5th – 18th September 2019. The survey was carried out online.


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