Press releases

New data dispels ‘negative stereotypes’ about veterans

29 November 2018

A major new study released by the Veterans Work consortium, reveals that military service is likely to improve your chances of finding employment, dispelling negative stereotypes about veterans and the fact they may well find it hard to get a job. The first Veterans Work report in 2016 revealed the wealth of transferrable skills veterans can offer, plus the fact they tend to promote quicker than their civilian peers and are likely to take less time off sick.

The study found that, contrary to what many believe, veteran employment rates at 81% are far higher than the national average of 75.5%. The new report, titled ‘Veterans Work: Moving On’, surveyed 1,786 UK veterans who had transitioned out of the military in the past ten years.

Veterans Work, made-up of leading professional services firm Deloitte, the Armed Forces charity the Officers’ Association and The Forces in Mind Trust (FiMT), is a consortium of organisations whose collective aim is to improve the understanding of veteran employment.

The Consortium’s research also found that 62% of veterans identifying as having a mental health disability are in employment. This compares to employment rates for those identifying as having a mental health disability across the working age population of the UK, where the rates are much lower at just 25%.

The figures follow a separate poll of 2,849 UK civilians, conducted in June of this year, which revealed a startling disconnect between perception and reality when it comes to the mental state of veterans and their chances of employment as they re-enter the workplace. The YouGov poll, commissioned by FiMT and the Ministry of Defence, found that an alarming 64% of civilians think that veterans are more likely to suffer from more mental, physical and emotional issues than those who have never served.

The YouGov poll also found that 39% of employers believe veterans are more likely to be ‘institutionalised’. Additionally, 30% thought that serving in the Armed Forces ‘damages people’.

Chris Recchia, Partner at Deloitte and Chair of the Veterans Work Consortium, said: “Persistent negative stereotypes do unfortunately affect wider societal perception of the veteran community. While it is absolutely true that some veterans have suffered and continue to suffer, this does not reflect the experiences of the majority. In short, this data dispels those negative stereotypes. Our study found veterans are highly employable due to the hard work, determination, flexibility in where they work and critically, a willingness to try a whole new career.”

Lee Holloway, Chief Executive of the Officers’ Association, said: “There is a clear gulf between how the public perceive veterans and the reality. Veterans are more likely to be employed for instance, regardless of disability or mental health. It is possible that this disconnect is in part being driven, unintentionally, by some of the messaging. High profile media campaigns drawing attention to real issues facing sections of the Armed Forces community, whilst well-meaning, can at times serve to perpetuate stereotypes that do not reflect the majority. The outlook for Service leavers is very promising. These research findings will help employers become better placed to recruit, retain and benefit from employing veterans.”

While employment rates for veterans are higher than the national average, ‘Veterans Work: Moving On’ found that more than a quarter (26%) of veterans living in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland said they had found the process of finding employment ‘very difficult’.

It was a different story for veterans who had chosen to reside in the Capital however, with less than 1 in 10 (9%) in London describing the experience as ‘very difficult’. Half (50%) of those veterans who live in London, describe their experience of finding the right job as ‘easy’. Despite the relative ease of finding jobs in the capital, just 8% of veterans are now living in London. The most popular place for veterans to live is in the South West, with nearly a quarter (24%) of respondents living there. This reflects the fact that the region is home to some of the most populated military bases.

Troublingly, 27% of female respondents described the process of finding employment as ‘very difficult’; whereas for men, the figure was just 17%. Nearly a third (29%) of female veterans said their salary expectations were not met, while only 24% of male veterans said the same.

Speaking as the report was unveiled, Air Vice-Marshal Ray Lock CBE and Chief Executive of the Forces in Mind Trust, said: “The transition out of military service into civilian life is most successful when all the elements, such as housing and employment, are tackled early, and holistically. It’s important that these challenges are, though, represented in a balanced and proportionate way. Understanding the needs of the minority who do struggle should be set alongside the successful outcomes for the majority. There is plenty of evidence to show that the public and employers hold inaccurate perceptions of the ex-Service community. The efforts of the Veterans Work consortium should help redress the balance.”

Tobias Ellwood, Minister for Defence People and Veterans, said: “Those who have served in our armed forces leave with a fantastic range of transferrable skills, including leadership, team work and resourcefulness. Organisations can benefit significantly from their experience, and so it’s important we dispel the myth that veterans are somehow damaged by their service. We will continue to support our service leavers in whichever route they choose to take, through initiatives such as our Career Transition Partnership.”


Note to editors

A full digital copy of the report can be downloaded at:

Interviews with following, are available on request:

  • Chris Recchia, Deloitte Partner and Veterans Work Chair
  • Air Vice-Marshal Ray Lock CBE, Chief Executive of the Forces in Mind Trust 
  • Lee Holloway, Chief Executive of the Officers’ Association

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.

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About Deloitte
In this press release references to Deloitte are references to Deloitte LLP, which is among the country's leading professional services firms.

Deloitte LLP is the United Kingdom member firm of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited (“DTTL”), a UK private company limited by guarantee, whose member firms are legally separate and independent entities. Please see for a detailed description of the legal structure of DTTL and its member firms.

The information contained in this press release is correct at the time of going to press.

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Member of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited

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