Ending one career and beginning a new one is one of life’s most challenging experiences. 

When I was 26, I changed careers from Real Estate to Recruitment. Learning a whole new way of working and developing a new skill set whilst trying to keep up with my new colleagues pushed me, hard.

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But it is nothing compared to the challenge our veterans face. So, on this ANZAC day, as we remember the sacrifice our armed servicemen and women have made, it’s worth us taking time to consider the career transformation that 30,000 veterans have had to make from armed service to civilian life in the last decade. 

They face an uphill battle. The veteran unemployment rate stands at 30.2%. Not only is the veteran unemployment rate staggeringly high, but the underemployment rate amongst veterans who have found work also sits at 19%, leading to low job satisfaction and lack of purpose.

Evidence suggests that our veterans struggle to find employment. Not for lack of trying, but because businesses can have preconceptions that these men and women may not have the civilian skills for the job or may have mental health conditions related to their war service. 

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our experience  

Our experience of hiring veterans at Randstad could not be further from this misconception.

Randstad has been working with the team at WithYouWithMe (WYWM). A veterans organisation set up to help ex-service people identify their purpose and establish clear pathways to new careers. Their programs are changing the way the veteran labour force is perceived by the New Zealand industry.

By partnering with WYWM we have developed a set of key skills needed for Recruitment Consultant positions with which WYWM offer bespoke training to upskill veterans. The aim is to create a career path for these workers in our business.

Randstad want veterans. Their ability to be comfortable in approaching and talking to people is outstanding, and so is their high level of integrity, ability to work well in a team, fantastic leadership skills, resilience and initiative. 

It’s no surprise that veterans in our business continue to succeed. In a recent podcast with Defence Connect, Tom Moore CEO of WithYouWithMe discussed why veterans do well in sales roles, saying “If we break down the hunter aspect of acquisitions sales; the problem solving and systems thinking, resilience, the ability to continue to pick up the phone and to look at a problem differently. Finally, it's the will to win,” 

For Randstad to be able to help our clients deliver on their diversity policies and veteran recruitment strategies, we must first embrace and create opportunities ourselves.

According to Bart Womack, Veteran Strategy Officer ​at Randstad USA and CSM, USA (Ret.) “Veteran hiring is a mindset and a culture shift. The companies that excel at hiring veterans have mastered this shift from the top down.​”​   


So, if you’re looking for top performers and choose to hire veterans, here are some tips:

  • Educate and train your leaders and recruiters about the military culture and language, encourage managers to ask questions of their veterans and to create a common ground. You can’t expect the veteran’s to do all of the adapting
  • Create a career. Veterans have the same desire as everyone to have a career rather than a job, so don’t just recruit people based on their current skills but also on how you can develop them. Provide clear career pathways within the organisation, informing individuals about lateral and upward advancement opportunities.
  • Promote innovation. Many veterans have complex problem solving skills. In the defense force there has to be a solution to every problem, create an environment where innovation and outside of the box thinking is encouraged.
  • Communicate the values of the organisation. Veteran’s have strong internal values and want purposeful work.

Our experience at Randstad hiring veterans through WithYouWithMe has been positive. For the teams they work in, our clients and the business. For many, it has blown away those common and inaccurate perceptions about ex servicemen and women. I would encourage you to do the same.

CEO of WYWM Tom Moore puts it simply, “They’re exceptional. If you hang up on a combat soldier he's probably just going to laugh about it and try and get you the next day or just rock up at your office to convince you to do it. If you've ever been in a bar on Anzac Day, you know they just don't stop talking.”

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