Veterans Work

Recognising the potential of ex-service personnel

Through our Deloitte Military Transition and Talent Programme, we know the benefits of employing veterans first hand, yet it is clear that for many UK businesses, the benefit of such schemes is largely anecdotal.

It's what we do that makes the difference

Our latest report, launched in collaboration with the Forces in Mind Trust (FiMT) and the Officers' Association, highlights some of the challenges faced by UK veterans entering employment and the significant benefits organisations can realise by recruiting from the veteran talent pool.

Across the country, three in ten businesses admit they have not even considered employing veterans. While the majority claim to be more open minded, 60% of businesses rule out recruiting someone if they have no industry specific experience. There are roughly 700,000 veterans currently in employment, over half find themselves in routine, low-skilled or low-paid jobs. It is an alarming waste of talent.

This is the first in a series of One Million Futures reports which address the challenges faced by many people in the UK in accessing education, training and employment and how we overcome these barriers to unlock the full potential of groups of ‘hidden talent’ within our society. 

Veterans Work: Recognising the potential of ex-service personnel

Our key findings

  • Organisations that have employed veterans are very positive about the value they bring – 72% of organisations with active ex-military recruitment programmes would definitely recommend employing veterans
  • More than half of organisations that have employed veterans say they tend to be promoted more quickly than their workforce in general
  • Many of the skills that veterans possess are in areas where organisations are experiencing gaps – for instance around a third of the medium and large organisations we surveyed have skills gaps in strategic management, managing and motivating staff, team-working, positive attitude and listening skills
  • There is a persistent lack of understanding of the key skills that veterans possess – only 66% of large and medium organisations perceive veterans as having good communication skills, whereas this is a key strength highlighted by organisations who have actually employed them
  • Veterans still struggle to gain a foothold in civilian employment – although 71% of medium and large organisations say they would consider employing veterans, only 39% would employ someone with no industry experience.


The report calls on policymakers to find a better balance between the short-term, tactical objective of placing Service leavers into employment, with the long-term alternative of developing veterans’ transferable skills and vocational qualifications. As well as improving the collection of veteran data, the study recommends policymakers consider a national strategy and commission for veterans’ employment, working alongside the Defence Skills Strategy. This would help to ensure that both the spirit and the letter of the Armed Forces Covenant are followed and that members of the armed forces are recognised to be beneficial for UK business.

Chris Recchia, Deloitte partner and lead for Deloitte's Military Transition and Talent Programme commented,

We have a collective responsibility to get this right. The framework for veterans to gain employment is in place but we want to build on the work already done. It is not just about the push from veterans into corporate life, it should also be about the pull from organisations who recognise what veterans have to offer. There is a huge opportunity to fully employ veterans’ skills and experience, our research demonstrates that employing veterans is an act of business, not charity.

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