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‘Civvy street’ missing out on top hires by misunderstanding military experience

  • Unique psychometric analysis reveals veterans’ workplace skills are the right fit for business, not just for battle
  • Veterans scored in the top 30 percentile for a number of key aptitudes needed in the workplace, outperforming many civilian employees
  • Key areas of strength include creativity, emotional intelligence and leadership
  • Barclays ‘Military Insights Tool’ designed to demystify perceptions around the veterans’ first careers

Barclays is challenging the stereotype that military skills only go as far as the battlefield with bespoke research that shows they are just as valuable in business.

The Barclays’ ‘Military Insights Tool’ asked veterans to undertake a series of game based psychometric tests which assessed them against key performance traits in the workplace. The findings revealed service leavers are not only armed with the right skills to succeed on ‘civvy street’, in many cases they can out-perform their civilian peers across a number of key areas, scoring in the top 30 percentile* for the following aptitudes:

Social influence

  1. Creativity
  2. Rational decision making
  3. Emotional resilience
  4. Dealing with ambiguity

The results follow previous findings from Barclays which revealed that fewer than half of employers would look favourably at military experience on a CV, with almost 1 in 10 (8%) of employers going so far to say they would look unfavourably at a CV that showed previous military experience.[1] A reluctance to hire veterans is already contributing to longer-term issues for this often-overlooked group, with more than one in five (22 per cent) service leavers set to face significant employment challenges in the next five years – including one in 10 (10 per cent) predicted to be out of work indefinitely.[2]

Stuart Tootal, Head of the Barclays Armed Forces Transition, Employment & Resettlement (AFTER) Programme, said, “This research clearly demonstrates the strength and depth of veterans’ skills and helps to debunk the myth that military experience isn’t relevant in the commercial world – a misconception many employers still hold.”

Veterans proved to have twice as much potential as civilian workers in demonstrating board-level leadership and developing innovative solutions to problems. One in five (21 per cent) also scored at the top end of creative thinking, compared to just 16 per cent of civilians. This, combined with the fact that veterans are less than half as likely to need rigid structure in the workplace highlights the powerful role they can play in a team.

The research also identified emotional stability as a key area of strength, with just 9 per cent of veterans falling within the lower potential range during the assessment, compared with 16 per cent of the civilian workforce. This is significant as previous research from Barclays showed that a third (33 per cent) of veterans feel that perceptions around mental health issues relating to time served in the armed forces, such as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), are detrimental to their career progression in the civilian job market.

Stuart Tootal continued, “A misunderstanding of military experience causes too many employers to write it off as being irrelevant, when it should be seen as a real asset. Through our first-hand experience at Barclays we’ve seen that veterans have exactly the right skills and culture to add real value to our workforce.  We want other companies to join our  call to arms to make the most of the stream of talent ex-military personnel can offer to business.

Barclays AFTER programme was set up in 2010 to help all veterans, regardless of circumstances, service and rank with their transition into civilian employment. The programme provides work placements, internships and employment opportunities as well as CV and interview coaching to help service leavers land their skills in a way that will resonate with civilian employers. To date, Barclays has helped over 5,000 service personnel in the transition process and employed nearly 500 ex-military within Barclays.

Barclays, is also the founding member of the Veterans Employment Transition Support (VETS) programme. VETS is a coalition of willing companies, the MOD and leading military charities, who are working within the existing landscape for supporting veterans to maximise the employment outcomes for those who have served the nation while brining benefits to employers and the economy.

Notes to editors

 For further information on the Barclays AFTER programme visit

About Barclays

Barclays is a transatlantic consumer and wholesale bank with global reach, offering products and services across personal, corporate and investment banking, credit cards and wealth management, with a strong presence in our two home markets of the UK and the US.

With over 325 years of history and expertise in banking, Barclays operates in over 40 countries and employs approximately 85,000 people. Barclays moves, lends, invests and protects money for customers and clients worldwide.

For further information about Barclays, please visit our website .