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Oct 27, 2017

Dispelling Myths About Ex-Military Personnel

New figures from the Office of National Statistics have revealed the contribution veterans make to the economy and society...

The stats show that, contrary to common misconceptions, veterans are as likely to be in employment as the general population, with 78% of veterans in employment, compared to 79% in the general population.

The stats were released on the day of the inaugural meeting of a new Ministerial Board, co-chaired by Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon and First Secretary of State Damien Green, which discussed the Government’s support to the Armed Forces, their families and veterans. The new Armed Forces Covenant and Veterans Board has been set up with the intention of 'driving forward and coordinating' better Government support to the Armed Forces, their families and veterans.

Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon said: "Veterans and their families have given so much to this country to help keep us safe. We need all of Government working together to deliver a better deal for Veterans during and after their move to civilian life. We will examine new ways to repay our armed forces for the bravery, honour and sacrifice they demonstrate when defending this country."

A number of other statistics released by the Office of National Statistics also outline how prevalent myths around the employment, education and health of veterans are untrue. The statistics found that:

  • There were no differences between veterans’ and non-veteran’s self-reported general health and health conditions. 35% of veterans aged between 16-64 reported their general health as very good, compared to 36% of non-veterans. 18% of over 65 veterans also reported very good general health, compared to 19% of non-veterans.
  • Working age veterans were as likely to have a qualification as non-veterans, (92% and 89% respectively) and more likely to have gained qualifications through work (63%) and leisure (17%) than non-veterans (45% and 10% respectively). This is likely a result of the training opportunities offered by the MOD to support service personnel in their military career and during transition out of the services.
  • Veterans were as likely to have bought their own home (outright or with a mortgage) (75%) as non-veterans (77%). The MOD’s Armed Forces Help to Buy scheme recently revealed that over 11,000 service personnel had been assisted in buying or renovating their own home through the scheme. Forces Help to Buy is just one of the initiatives under the Armed Forces Covenant to support Armed Forces personnel and veterans.

The Defence Secretary has called on businesses to do more to promote the positive role veterans play in the workplace. Speaking at an Armed Forces charity dinner he said that veterans play an important part in the nation’s economy, contrary to prevalent misconceptions surrounding those who have served.

New research published by Lord Ashcroft, the Prime Minister’s Special Representative for Veterans’ Transition, found that while people on the whole were positive about veterans, some 54% of the general public estimated that service leavers had some kind of physical, emotional or mental health problem as a result of their time in the military. Lord Ashcroft’s report highlighted the pervasive nature of myths surrounding public perception of veterans, pointing towards research which debunks a number of these:

  • The employment rate for veterans six months after leaving the military is higher than in the UK workforce as a whole
  • The vast majority of former service personnel go on to lead normal, healthy, productive lives
  • Suicide is less common among the military population than the general public
  • Veterans are less likely to go to prison, not more.

The new Ministerial Board which has met for the first time will have a specific focus on the priority area of healthcare, including mental health, but will also look at housing, education, and employment opportunities.

Graham Brown, Managing Director of Forces Recruitment Services Ltd, commented: "People have a perception of ex-military personnel as being regimented, one-dimensional individuals who are good at following orders but not much else. This could not be further from the truth. At FRS we work with employers who appreciate the true value of former Service men and women: their adaptability, their skillsets, their commitment, and their professionalism. We see these qualities every day in our candidates and it is our mission to ensure that employers across the country see them too."

To learn how your organisation can benefit from employing ex-military personnel, click here.


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