According to research conducted by Mitie, over two-thirds (70%) of individuals who have served in the military and moved into facilities management (FM) report that FM roles are a good match for the skills they developed in the Armed Forces, while more than three-quarters (77%, in fact) of respondents said that they would recommend the sector to other Armed Forces leavers.
Mitie conducted anonymous surveys involving 191 former servicemen and women currently working in the FM space and 122 managers of Armed Forces veterans in the sector. The subsequent report, entitled ‘Mobilising Veterans in the Facilities Management Industry’, shows that both veterans and managers in the FM world agree the sector is something of a natural match for former servicemen and women.
With over 20,000 veterans leaving the Armed Forces every year to join the civilian workplace, in fact, the detailed 14-page report looks at how the FM industry can better support those Armed Forces leavers.
The research found that many of the key skills developed in the military (among them reliability, the ability to perform under pressure and professionalism) are a strong match for those most needed in the FM sector. This is also the view of most managers surveyed, with four-in-five (84%) stating that veterans are likely to have the skills most urgently needed in the FM industry.
Despite having the key skills needed to help them succeed in their FM careers, many ex-servicemen and women are concerned that their lack of technical FM knowledge may limit their career opportunities. However, while managers noted the importance of these skills, they should not be seen as a barrier, with over half (53%) of all respondents suggesting that they would like to see employers offering more role-specific training to support ex-Armed Forces employees.
Need for guidance
Although the report finds that a career in FM is a good fit for veterans, more than a quarter (27%) of those former servicemen and women surveyed felt unprepared and in need of guidance when looking to join the civilian workplace. 50% of them said that it was a challenge to find work after leaving the military, with a lack of job-seeking skills, such as CV writing, and not understanding which jobs would best suit their military experience being highlighted as key barriers.
The report also pinpoints how important the Armed Forces community is in providing support to men and women recently leaving their military service. A third (29%) of veterans found their FM roles via a recommendation from someone they knew in the sector. Meanwhile, around one fifth of veterans said that creating employee networks (21%) and providing mentors (18%) are crucial ways in which employers can help smooth the transition to civilian life.
Mitie is using the findings of this report to guide its own initiatives designed to help ex-servicemen and women transition to civilian life and build their career in FM. This will support the organisation’s commitment that at least 2.3% of its employees will have a military background by 2025. That’s 0.5% above the average for the UK population.
Long-term career opportunities
Charles Antelme DSO, managing director for the commercial and Government sectors at Mitie, explained: “We’re delighted to see this report confirm that the FM sector is a natural choice for many Armed Forces leavers, offering ex-servicemen and women the chance to use the skills they’ve developed throughout their military career, as well as providing them with long-term career opportunities. With their professionalism, reliability and ability to perform under pressure, colleagues with a military background are a great fit for the FM sector.”
Antelme went on to state: “However, with many veterans leaving the Armed Forces unsure as to which roles best match their skills, there’s a huge opportunity here for our industry. By offering the right support and guidance, we can help more former servicemen and women kick-start their careers in the FM sector.”
The report builds on Mitie’s commitment to support the Armed Forces and to encourage more former military personnel to join the FM industry. Mitie has already launched a number of initiatives to help ex-military personnel find work in the FM industry. These include a dedicated Armed Forces Career Portal and its specialist Ready2Work ‘Military’ programme, giving veterans a chance to experience a placement in the FM sector.
Through its employee network, the Mitie Military, the company is also supporting its large community for veterans and reservists by offering a forum in which individuals can share experiences with their colleagues.