There are almost a million Armed Forces veterans of working age living in households In Great Britain.
For those seeking employment, small businesses can often be better than bigger ones at spotting and nurturing talent, rather than discarding a service leaver’s job application because some of their skills and qualifications aren’t necessarily from a traditional academic route.
But there is room for greater support and advice to service leavers on the options of self-employment or finding work within an existing smaller business, and there should be more of a focus on the key skills needed to succeed in enterprise.
At the same time, employers would benefit from a simplified way of understanding and recognising the equivalence between military skills and civilian qualifications. For those service leavers in need of further training and qualifications to achieve their post-military ambitions, there should be more financial support available. And for smaller employers there should be a financial incentive to recruit service leavers, in the form of a one-year holiday from Employer National Insurance Contributions.
These, plus a host of other recommendations, along with some fascinating insights, can be read in the report A Force for Business: Service Leavers and Small Business.
Veterans are estimated to make up five per cent of household residents aged 16+ in England and Scotland, and six percent of household residents aged 16+ in Wales.
This suggests there are currently approximately 340,000 small enterprises across Great Britain run by veterans
More than one in 10 (12%) smaller firms have employed a service leaver in the last three years. This equates to almost 166,000 small firms across Great Britain.
Micro-businesses are the category of business which most often employ veterans. Among smaller businesses the proportion taking on service leavers in the last three years is noticeably lower. In medium-sized firms in particular, the proportion is less than a quarter of those in the ‘10 or less employees’ category.
Nearly 80 per cent of service leaver-led businesses have employees. The proportion of veteran-run businesses with at least one employee is much higher than among the business owning population as-a-whole.
‘I employ three ex-service personnel and they have a tremendous work ethic. They have a resilient attitude which rubs off on other people in the team... they’re quite exceptional’.
Business owner, management consultancy business, South Wales