Everyone must leave the Forces at some time, most with a surprising and disorientating realisation of loss – of status and job security. Although Service resettlement packages provide invaluable assistance, finding a new career and landing a job is far more difficult than most serving people realise.
Finding a Job
Service job-seekers agencies (for example The Officers Association) do their best. However, unlike in the Forces, where the purpose of postings branches is to find jobs for people, nobody in civvie street is responsible for the employment of a Service leaver.
It is vital that leavers start planning for leaving well before hand; contacting former military colleagues now in civilian employment, investigating various industries and the requisite qualification courses needed for jobs at the level at which the leaver aspires.
‘Retired Officer – RO’ Jobs
Some mid-ranking officers and senior NCO and WO’s, obtain retirement jobs in the MoD and Army headquarters. The salaries of these jobs is usually lower than the one would expect, the difference calculated by the adding-on of Service pension income. ‘RO’s’ allow the MoD to capitalise on experience whilst paying very much less than for a serving person.
Being in the familiar HQ or MoD environment, ‘RO’ jobs appear more secure than the open waters of civvie street. However, many offer only fixed term or renewable contracts, which in times of defence cuts are easier and very much cheaper to cancel than the contracts of serving personnel.
The security industry rarely ‘employs’ people – but puts people on time-limited contracts – hence my referring to employees as ‘contractors’.
The security industry is awash with ex-military, and operates a very tight ‘old-boy’ network, with companies contracting people they know. Many companies are founded and run by ex-military people, offering a familiar, ‘military family’ environment.
Points to bear in mind:
- Security companies cannot afford the welfare dimension of the real military environment.
- Most hire people on fixed-term contracts related to the contracts they have with other companies;
- Security companies have minimal infrastructure.
- Some companies may pay for employees to attend qualification courses – but generally, being qualified already is a requirement of the job.
Some security companies are set up by former contractors who decide after a few spells of employment, to create their own company. It is often difficult to ascertain the experience and business management knowledge of a security company, when seeking a contract.