Women have served in our Armed Forces for more than a century, applying for the same roles as men and enjoying fulfilling careers. Yet when they leave military life, it can take them nine months* or longer to find employment, and the employment gap between them and their male counterparts remains acute.
This year marked the third year of our Women into Employment event series; events designed to focus on the employment needs of women from across the Armed Forces community. We bring employers and career specialists together with job seekers and those interested in reviewing their employment potential to explore new job opportunities and how to become not just job ready but confident in approaching the job search process.
Chloe Mackay, Deputy Chief Executive at the Forces Employment Charity, says: “Women into Employment has grown in popularity, year on year, with the experiences of some attendees having been truly transformational.”
In May, we ran a pre-conference networking evening hosted by Deloitte and the employment conference itself in June, was kindly hosted by J.P. Morgan. The volume and range of employers involved demonstrates their commitment and interest in hiring female talent across the Armed Forces community; JP Morgan, Centrica, Sky, Barclays, SubSea7, Deloitte, BNY Mellon, DAS, KPMG, CBRE and Smiths were just some of the employers involved in supporting this great initiative. As Laura Blair, Head of Programme at Centrica Ex-Forces Pathway said: “Our ambition is to hire from across the Armed Forces Community.”
Both events provided female job seekers and those interested in evaluating their employment potential with an opportunity to network and talk face-to-face about job opportunities and careers and to gain insights into the wider civilian jobs landscape.
Over 50 speakers, employers and industry experts contributed their time, expertise and energy to make each event successful. For the conference, we had an amazing Chair in Sky news broadcaster, Kimberly Leonard. She expertly managed a packed agenda and kept everyone on track and on time and with over one hundred women from across the Armed Forces Community in attendance, it was a day to remember.
“I am so glad I attended this event. 57 speakers and access to so much knowledge and positivity. I left the programme buoyed up about my chances of finding a job that works for my family and me. Excellent networking opportunities also.” – Saskia Hart, attendee
Our first year of hosting Women into Employment started the conversation with employers and women from the Armed Forces community, followed in 2022 with an event focused on identifying and overcoming some of the challenges women face when approaching the employment market.
Our focus this June was to understand how we can best support women to ensure they are fully equipped with the tools they need to access employment opportunities successfully. The conference definitely came a long way in achieving our goal, with 83% of attendees saying they made valuable connections and found the information and expertise on offer throughout the event useful in their next steps.
Networking, and knowing how you can make your network work is an ongoing topic for us all. We recognise how important creating and building a network is to job success. This is where the idea of a networking event to complement the conference came about. People want an opportunity to meet future employers in an informal setting – to connect, network and take conversations forward and our May did exactly that. But don’t just take our word for it.
“It was the best networking and insight event I have been to. It was extremely informative, powerful and enjoyable, and certainly empowered women.” – Vivienne Buck, attendee
Following the success of this year’s Women into Employment events, we will be repeating both events in 2024. If you are interested in getting involved and are committed to recruiting from the female ex-military and spouse talent pools, then we want to hear from you.
Support for Military Women
At the Forces Employment Charity, we have a range of options for support for Military Women, from our dedicated Military Women programme to our Executive Services offering. If you would like to be part of our growing network and have access to this high level of support and job opportunities, register with us today.
*A 2021 Parliamentary Defence Sub-Committee study; Protecting those who protect us: Women in the Armed Forces from Recruitment to Civilian Life, concluded:
- Female veterans felt their skills and experience from the Armed Forces needed to be understood by civilian employers.
- One in five surveyed said it took them nine months or longer to find employment after leaving the military.