Firms are increasingly taking an interest in hiring ex-military service people, with their high discipline and transferable skills in demand. However, the bridge between military service and private life is often difficult with the unemployment rate for veterans almost double that of the UK average. In a forward looking move by EY, the professional services firm signed up to the Armed Forces Military Covenant, which seeks to bridge the gap between defence and work.
Ex-service personnel have more difficulty than most sub-categories of the UK employment market in finding work, with research showing that veteran unemployment between the ages of 18 and 49 is twice the UK average. To combat some of these issues, and to gain access to highly disciplined personnel, private firms have started taking an interest in recruiting ex-veterans.
As an example of the trend, professional services EY recently launched a military recruitment programme that will place ex-services members within the firm’s ranks, making it an ‘armed forces-friendly’ company. The programme follows its signing up to the Armed Forces Military Covenant, which is a covenant between the state, the nation and local communities through which the military and its role are supported in the local community. For EY it means a commitment by the firm to support the employment of veterans and their families, in addition to supporting employees who choose to become members of the Reserve Forces. “EY is working hard to ensure that all members of the Armed Forces community are fully supported in the workplace and I hope many more companies will follow their lead,” comments Julian Brazier, the UK Minister for Reserves.
For consulting firms, ex-military personnel can prove very valuable for the business as they possess a range of valuable mental and competency skills.* Bjorn Conway, Head of Government and Public Sector at EY UK & Ireland, explains: “At EY we are focussed on finding top talent, regardless of background, and we recognise that many military personnel have a wealth of skills and leadership qualities that would be invaluable to our business. From their problem-solving abilities and resilience under pressure, to their people management and communication skills. We will be running events throughout the year, in addition to establishing a network of former military mentors to help support our new recruits.”
So far, EY has hired 40 ex-military personnel in the UK & Ireland, with a wider network of around 130 people including spouses of serving military, friends, family and reservists. The Big Four firm has similar policies in place in other countries, including in the US, where the programme is considered a large succes.
The addition of ex-military staff is part of its wider expansion plays within the UK market, and while it is recruiting across the board, most of the ex-military hires are expected to enter their advisory practice. The new hires will mostly be given entry at the “experienced hire” level, although each new hire will be assessed on their skills and abilities, with training offered to meet deficiencies. One of the key aspects of the programme is that EY will be looking to leverage the skills and training military experience has given their new hires, with the transferable skills further augmented through a mentoring scheme.