Veterans are an untapped workforce – and hiring them just got even easier

Military Medic

2020 taught us to adapt fast. Tested our resilience. And proved that even armed with the strongest strategy, plans and tools, we can’t always have the tightest grip on our business.

Now think about how that high-pressured environment morphed us into better leaders. How it sharpened skills we never even knew were in our repertoire.

Welcome to a day in the life of being in the Military. Constantly trouble-shooting, upskilling and learning under intense conditions. Serving in the UK Armed Forces can shape a person beyond certified courses and impressive job titles.

But, what happens after? Once Military life ends and civilian life begins? Those same skills, whether they were stationed on the front line or in the finance department, never disappear. They are transferable and can be applied to a multitude of roles, business models and environments – which can strengthen the infrastructure and promote diversity of any workforce.

Hiring veterans

The companies that recognise these highly sought-after qualities within the Ex-Military community were some of the first to sign up with JobOppO.

JobOppO is a recruitment platform which caters exclusively to service-leavers, connecting vetted Ex-Military candidates to roles that crave their unique skill set.

JobOppO founder and former RAF Medic and language specialist, Kayam Iqbal, says the business grew out of a desire to better support the community.

He says: “There is a common misconception that veterans are somewhat vulnerable and wounded. But, I want people to know just how strong and valuable we are to any organisation.

“We can be dropped into a role or a position, and diversify, acclimatise, and adapt so quickly. That is stuff that is absolutely unique, that the Military have really taught us to do well.”

His business model is the first of its kind, with a lifetime open-door policy for all veterans no matter when they served – taking the talent pool from tens of thousands of yearly leavers to hundreds of thousands. With a focus on developing further employment support for all candidates and signing up like-minded businesses, he explains his two-fold approach to Ex-Military recruitment.

“Firstly, it’s a closed community for all veterans, no matter when they left. Each candidate’s background is verified before they can start applying for the roles we list. The second thing for us is that our corporate clients are supportive of the Armed Forces.”

Early adopters of the platform include major retailer Iceland, soft drinks producer Britvic and fast food giant KFC – to name a few.

Helen Tindle, HR Director at Iceland, says: “We wanted to make a partnership that didn’t push us into any corners, but exposed opportunities we had directly to Military leaders. We chose JobOppO as our only partner in this area.”

“We encourage our colleagues to bring their personalities to work with them. And we find that Ex-Military people are really comfortable and confident in doing that and they bring a great work ethic.”

Take Louise Pugsley, former RAF paramedic. After serving for 12 years and working as part of the Medical Emergency Response Team (MERT) in Afghanistan back in 2011, she says her background gave her confidence and indescribable life lessons.

“In job interviews when I’m asked to give an example of a difficult or stressful situation I say, there is no bigger stress than being on the back of a helicopter, flying over a desert to reach someone on the front line who needs their leg putting back together.”

She’s signed up to JobOppO to find her next role, which aligns with the next chapter of her life.

“I’ve been asked, how can you go from treating major trauma to working in an office? It may seem like a drastic change, but for me, I’ve been there and I’ve done that and I want to try something new.”