Over half (54%) of UK businesses have reported a reluctance to hire military veterans due to potential mental health concerns, according to new research from Combat Stress, a mental health charity for veterans.

This hesitation is despite four out of five (84%) recruiters saying they recognise the skills and experience of military veterans as a benefit to their organisation.

Anna Soubry, Minister for Defence Personnel, Welfare and Veterans, said:

While the vast majority of service leavers make a successful transition to civilian life, we know there is a minority who require support, which is why the government has a wide range of support schemes in place.”

Following recent changes to the composition of the British Armed Forces, an increasing number of former Service personnel are entering civilian employment. At the same time the military is increasing the number of Reservists in all branches of the Armed Forces.

Three quarters (75%) of respondents said that if they had expert advice on how to understand and support veterans in the workplace they would be likely to hire more of them. The same proportion (75%) of employers agreed that UK businesses don’t know enough about external support available to Veterans with psychological injuries in the workplace.

Combat Stress are trying to improve awareness of veterans’ needs by introducing a businesses symposium on the subject. The Military Mind will take place on 26th March.

Soubry added:

“I commend this Combat Stress initiative which will provide expert advice to employers on the mental health support available to Veterans and Reservists in their workforce. It will be of benefit to both employers and their employees. I also applaud the hundreds of businesses that have signed up to the Covenant – after this Government enshrined it into law – to help to ensure all members of the Armed Forces community receive the support and recognition they deserve.”