Forces in Mind Trust (FiMT) commissioned research to be undertaken by QinetiQ, with IER and RFEA - The Forces Employment Charity, to examine the longer-term employment outcomes of military veterans in the UK.
For those leaving the UK Armed Forces, employment is seen a key indicator of a successful and sustainable transition. Whilst previous research, and Ministry of Defence employment statistics, shows that the vast majority of ex-Forces personnel gain employment after leaving, little to no consideration has been given towards the longevity of the employment achieved, or whether ex-Service personnel are employed in the ‘right’ jobs (i.e. fulfilling and sustainable jobs, maximising potential). This has led to previously accepted metrics for measuring success (e.g. finding employment) being viewed as limited in nature, failing to take into account the ‘softer’ factors or ‘broader KPIs’ of successful transitions, such as sense of identity, general satisfaction and experiences of resettlement which research has found to be important to transition.
To address this, and to support FiMT's mission to enable ex-Service personnel to make successful and sustainable transitions into civilian life, this targeted study examined the longer-term employment outcomes for ex-Service personnel, incorporating different measures of success. It focused on individuals who have been out of the Armed Forces for at least two years, and looking at those who did and did not access transition support through the Career Transition Partnership (CTP), this study was led by the following research questions:
- What are the longer-term employment outcomes for ex-Service personnel?
- How does a person’s time in Service (including education, training and experience), and the support received during transition, impact longer-term employment outcomes?
- What are the barriers and facilitators to successful and sustainable employment?
- How is ‘successful employment’ defined? What are the wider measures of this and what does this mean in relation to ex-Service personnel? Is there a more comprehensive metric for measuring employment success in future research/studies?
A mixed methods approach was conducted over 18 months, incorporating five different Work Packages (WPs):
- A literature review and current employment statistics;
- Interviews with relevant stakeholders;
- An online survey with veterans;
- Semi-structured interviews with veterans;
- Semi-structured interviews with veteran’s spouses/partners.
The research team was led by Natalie Fisher at QinetiQ, with support from IER colleagues (Clare Lyonette, Sally-Anne Barnes and David Owen) and RFEA. The team members have worked together on previous research projects on the employment transitions of military veterans including:
- Senior Non-Commissioned Officers and employment after leaving the UK Armed Forces
- Barriers to military spousal employment research
Fisher, N., Newell, K., Barnes, S-A., Owen, D., & Lyonette, C. (2021). Longer-Term Employment Outcomes of Ex-Service Personnel. London: Forces in Mind Trust.