New research from the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) has found smaller businesses are increasingly positive about employing Reservists and service leavers.
The number of firms reluctant to take on a Reservist has fallen dramatically over the past three years, with many more business owners saying they can see the benefits of hiring those with service experience. The change demonstrates the progress made in improving the package of support available to small businesses hiring Reservists.
The study is the first ever to look at the employment of service leavers, in addition to Reservists, from a small business perspective. While the attitude of employers to hiring those with service experience is widely positive, the research also revealed a clear preference among smaller firms for hiring service leavers over Reservists with two in three (65%) employers saying they would be keen to hire service leavers. The number of small firms saying they would actively consider hiring a Reservist has increased too, up from 45% in 2013 to 49% in 2016.
This is a welcome sign and shows more and more small firms recognise the benefits of taking on a Reservist. However, the FSB is calling on Ministers to commit to further support for smaller employers.
Mike Cherry, Policy Director for the FSB, said: “Employers always want to find the most talented and highly-skilled people for the jobs they create. Reservists and service leavers often bring unique skills and qualities to the job, especially around leadership and management, and businesses clearly recognise that.
“The Government has made good progress towards encouraging employers to take on Reservists. The financial support now on offer to a small employer can help to cover the cost when a member of staff is deployed – but there are clearly still challenges to overcome. We would like to see more small businesses supporting our troops. They serve our country and the skills they come back with are diverse and often invaluable.”
Mr Cherry added: “The MoD should continue to engage with smaller firms to understand and address their concerns. We cannot afford to let Reservists and service leavers’ talent and skills go to waste.”
Minister for Reserves, Julian Brazier MP, said: “I’d like to thank the growing number of small businesses making the effort to serve their country by supporting our Service personnel. It is very encouraging to see more small employers finding the value of the unique skills and expertise that Reservists and Service Leavers can bring to their businesses.”