Female veterans can face major disadvantage when applying for civilian roles

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Written by Jon Kennard on 18 July 2018 in Press Zone
Press Zone

Female veterans face increased disadvantage compared to their male counterparts when making the move to civilian employment, a new study from Barclays can reveal.

  • 42% of female veterans believe they weren’t offered an interview or progressed through the application process due to their military background
  • A third of female veterans have been asked an inappropriate question in a job interview, including whether they knew how to act and dress in a feminine way
  • Findings from Barclays AFTER programme demonstrate that more needs to be done to break down the barriers female veterans face at every stage of the job hunt

Research from the Barclays AFTER (Armed Forces Transition, Employment & Resettlement) Programme shows that military leavers will often face ignorance and prejudice in the civilian job world, with women experiencing this to an even greater extent.

Despite the strength of veterans’ experience and skills, over a third (35%) of veterans believe they haven’t been offered an interview or progressed through the application process due to their military background, rising to 42% of female veterans. 

Inappropriate interview questions

Three in ten military service leavers (30 per cent) have been asked inappropriate interview questions, demonstrating the degree of misunderstanding that still exists and the need for further training to educate hiring managers on not just the reality, but the value of a military career. Of those who were asked inappropriate questions:

  • 26% of women have been asked if they knew how to act and dress in a feminine way
  • 33% of men have been asked if they have ever shot or killed anyone
  • 22% of women have been asked about how they felt working in a male-dominated environment
  • 19% of women have been asked if they’ve ever handled a firearm

Female veterans at a disadvantage

On average, it takes the veteran population four months to find a civilian job, increasing to five months among female veterans. Breaking this down further, fewer female veterans are finding jobs within a month (21%), compared to male veterans (39 per cent).

To combat this, 44% of female veterans have undertaken additional training when looking for civilian roles compared to 28% of men, demonstrating the additional lengths some female veterans are having to take to level the playing field.

In fact, at every stage of the job hunting process, female veterans are going above and beyond to make sure that their applications are successfully received – sending nearly double the number of CVs and attending more interviews and work placements than either their male or civilian colleagues.

Rachel Scandling, Navy Veteran and Global Head of Large Shareholdings Operations at Barclays Investment Bank said: “After 28 years serving in the Royal Navy, the decision to leave and take-up a new career was not straight forward. During my initial job search, I found that military experience didn’t necessarily carry the credibility you would expect with civilian employers; many didn’t understand the unique skills that we bring. For me, one of the most challenging aspects of my career shift was overcoming stereotypes to communicate my skills to employers who lacked a true understanding of military experience.

“I’d never written a CV before leaving the forces and so it took me over 6 months to draft a version that I felt fully articulated my skill set. I reached out to many service leavers within my network for support and mentoring; this was invaluable in understanding their journeys and the challenges they had faced. This advice helped me shape my transition plan, prepare for interviews and build an active support network.”

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