Unlocking Hidden Potential

Every year, around 16,000 men and women leave the UK’s armed forces, bringing with them a wealth of skills and experience honed during their service. Yet, many employers fail to recognize the immense value these veterans can bring to the civilian workforce, particularly in the tech sector. Veterans possess highly transferable skills such as communication, leadership, teamwork, social perceptiveness, flexibility, creative problem-solving, judgment, and decision-making. Despite this, a significant number of veterans end up in low-paid or routine jobs because of the barriers and misconceptions surrounding their transition into civilian roles. This article explores why hiring veterans into tech roles is not just a good idea but a strategic advantage.

The Gap Between Skills and Employment

Veterans often face challenges when transitioning to civilian careers, primarily due to a lack of understanding among employers about the skills they bring. Many hiring managers and HR professionals look for industry-specific experience, making it difficult for veterans to break into new fields despite their highly relevant skill sets. For example, only 39% of employers are willing to hire individuals without industry experience. This disconnect means that businesses are missing out on a valuable and capable talent pool, with many veterans finding themselves in trades where their military training is more readily acknowledged.

Breaking Down Barriers

Fortunately, there is growing momentum from the military, government, charities, and businesses to address these barriers. Initiatives are being put in place to better integrate veterans into civilian roles, and awareness of their unique capabilities is increasing. This change is critical, as organizations that employ veterans report overwhelmingly positive experiences. According to a study, 72% of organizations would definitely recommend hiring veterans, with 80% understanding how their skills fit into their business needs.

The Unique Value Veterans Bring

Veterans are trained to operate at high levels of capability, often in high-risk environments where failure can have dire consequences. This training instills a level of discipline and proficiency that is hard to match in other sectors. Here are some of the specific advantages veterans offer to tech roles:

  • Advanced Communication and Planning Skills: Veterans excel in communication, planning, time management, and teamwork. These skills are crucial for any tech role, where clear communication and effective project planning are essential.
  • Leadership and Problem-Solving: Veterans are natural leaders and are adept at problem-solving. They have the ability to inspire and lead teams, manage crises, and make quick, informed decisions.
  • Adaptability and Quick Learning: Veterans have a proven ability to quickly pick up new skills and adapt to different environments. This is particularly valuable in the tech industry, where technologies and methodologies are constantly evolving.
  • Strategic and Motivational Skills: Veterans fill critical gaps in business, especially in strategic management and staff motivation. Their positive attitude and listening skills contribute to a productive work environment.
  • Professionalism and Work Ethic: A high degree of professionalism and a commitment to excellence are standard among veterans. This translates into lower rates of sickness and absence and a tendency to be promoted more quickly than their civilian counterparts due to their cognitive and soft skills.

Veterans and Tech Skills

As a leading authority on supporting veterans transitioning into new careers, we find that many veterans already possess intermediate or advanced tech skills even before undergoing additional training. Veterans often demonstrate superior pattern recognition, spatial awareness, and verbal reasoning skills compared to the general population. These attributes make them exceptionally well-suited for high-demand tech roles such as software development, business analytics, and cybersecurity.

Planning for the Future

To effectively integrate veterans into your tech workforce, it’s not just about hiring; it’s about planning and training. Many veterans receive training during their last months of service, preparing them to hit the ground running when they transition into civilian roles. By partnering with organizations that specialize in veteran employment, you can start planning for your future hires now.

How to Start

  1. Sign the Armed Forces Covenant: This pledge demonstrates your commitment to supporting veterans in the workforce.
  2. Educate Yourself and Your Team: Explore resources and articles about the benefits of hiring veterans and how their skills translate into civilian roles. Examples include publications by Deloitte and forces charities.
  3. Partner with Veteran Support Programs: Work with organizations like TechVets and the Employment Forces Charity to develop programs that support the transition of veterans into your organization.

Conclusion

Hiring veterans into tech roles is not only a good deed but a strategic move that can bring immense value to your organization. Veterans possess a unique combination of skills, discipline, and adaptability that make them ideal candidates for the fast-paced, evolving tech industry. By understanding and leveraging these attributes, businesses can tap into a rich talent pool and gain a competitive edge in the marketplace. As the momentum to break down employment barriers for veterans grows, now is the perfect time to consider how these highly skilled individuals can contribute to your company’s success.