My image shows me taking part in a flying lesson during my RAF career!
Apparently we are a demographic that is difficult to attract. As a recruiter with a passion for diversity and an advocate for Veteran employment, I travelled to London last week to meet with the Officers’ Association along with other major employers such as Amazon, HSBC, Travis Perkins and the NHS to find out why and share best practice.
At 1 April 2018 the total strength of the full-time trained and untrained UK Armed Forces was 154,718 (source: House of Commons Library, UK Defence Personnel Statistics Briefing Paper, 12 Jun 18) and only 10.2% (15270) of those were women, with the Royal Air Force consistently having the highest proportion of women compared to the other services. The outflow from the Armed Forces in the 12 months to 31 Mar 18 was 15173. I was unable to source the figures of outflow by gender, but it would be no surprise that the numbers of women leaving the military based on the 10% representation would be a fairly low number.
To understand how to attract female talent from such a small pool, it would be wise to understand why they leave the Armed Forces. Whilst those of us at the recent Officers’ Association workshop came up with numerous reasons as a collective, the reality differs by individual circumstance. However females are less likely to serve a full career in the military than their male colleagues and so it is assumed that the majority leave in their 20’s or 30’s and will look to gain further employment outside of the military.
Image MoD Crown Copyright 2013, Cpl Bryden
During the workshop all employers agreed that attracting ex-military talent, particularly ex-military female talent was not only the right thing to do, but made business sense. Service leavers offer valuable transferable skills in a highly competitive jobs market where low unemployment puts the ball very much in the employees court. We all agreed that service leavers have great values, are trustworthy, are a ready-made talent pool, have excellent leadership qualities, offer diversity of thought, can cover skills shortages and are loyal which ultimately aids retention. We discussed various assumptions, but collectively agreed that one of the key influences in attracting ex-military female talent was flexible working, particularly for those who were leaving the military for the reason of stability. Each employer offered various methods that aid their female attraction and female insight days proved to be valuable; it gave employers the chance to discuss their female-friendly policies and gave potential employees the opportunity to get a feel for the organisations culture and ask questions. The workshop, and whole day, was thoroughly insightful and a paper will be written by the Officers’ Association and shared with employers soon.
Here at Inzpire, Defence is at the heart of everything we do. We aim to cause a Revolution in Defence and we are achieving that through the help of our excellent employees, which includes our ex-military colleagues and their 2500 years of collective military experience. We are extremely proud signatories of the Armed Forces Covenant and offer a benefits package that is supportive of service leavers, reservists and their families. As a growing SME, we currently employ 8 female veterans (5.4% of our employees) and I would be very keen to engage with anyone who would like to discuss potential opportunities Inzpire can offer them in the future.