Career & Jobs

Post-Military Employment: The Most Common Jobs for Veterans in the UK

Employment prospects are typically good for those leaving the military. People retiring from the armed forces can enter a wide range of jobs and industries. Here’s a look at some of the most common career paths of veterans:

Working-Age Veterans

In Great Britain specifically, forty percent of veterans leave the army at working age (16-64 years). Of these, 79 percent are employed, meaning this population group is just as likely to be employed as nonveterans. Ninety-two percent have a qualification, according to Britain’s 2017 Annual Population Survey. The army does provide specific services dedicated to helping veterans find jobs after they have left the military. Between 2018 and 2019, 86 percent of the people retiring from service who used the Career Transition Partnership (CTP) were employed within six months of leaving the military.

Most Common Post-Military Jobs

Among UK veterans leaving service in 2018 and 2019, the three most commonly reported occupations after six months were:

  1. Associate professional and technical occupations (22 percent)
  2. Skilled trade occupations (21 percent)
  3. Professional occupations (13 percent)

These three employment areas accounted for the careers of more than half (56 percent) of all veterans.

Associate Professional and Technical Occupations

These jobs include occupations that provide technical support to senior-level employees, including managers, directors, senior officials, and other professionals. Typically, these occupations require a high level of relevant vocational education.

Skilled Trade Occupations

Making up 21 percent of veteran employment, these occupations typically require manual dexterity and other practical skills. These jobs rely more on practical training, apprenticeships, and work-based learning than on academic qualifications. These jobs often fall into specific niches, like construction or agriculture.

Professional Occupations

These occupations are mainly involved in carrying out work that requires a high level of specialist knowledge and experience. These jobs are often found in fields like biological and natural sciences or engineering. Most of these occupations require a degree or other specific qualifications.

Occupation by Gender

Post-military employment levels do vary between demographics. For example, men are more likely to report finding employment in skilled trade operations than women (22 percent vs. 5 percent). Male veterans rea more likely to report employment in process, plant, and machine operatives (13 percent) than in professional occupations (12 percent). By contrast, women are more likely to find employment in caring, leisure, and other service occupations (14 percent, compared to just 2 percent of men). Women are also more prevalent in administrative and secretarial roles (11 percent) than men (4 percent).

Employment for Officers and Other Ranks

Military rank can also influence one’s employment. For example, officers are more likely to find employment as managers, directions, and senior officials (21 percent) than in the skilled trade occupations (3 percent). They are also more likely to be employed in associate professional and technical occupations (32 percent) and professional occupations (31 percent).

Employment Based on Age

Veterans under the age of 30 are more likely to find employment in elementary occupations. Additionally, this age bracket is more likely to report being employed as process, plant, and machine operatives. They are less likely to fall into the role of manager, director, or senior official. They are also less likely to work in professional occupations.

Unemployed Veterans

A very small percentage of working-age veterans reported being unemployed (6 percent). Among this group, Black, Asian, and minority ethnic (BAME) veterans are likely to be unemployed (20 percent) than white veterans (6 percent).

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