Careers in government: What can they offer to army leavers?

Published on: 19 May 2022

There are plenty of industries in which ex-service personnel could work after leaving the military, from construction and logistics to almost anything in between. However, one of the most commonly suggested is central government.
That’s because parliament, the civil service and the judiciary offer a variety of roles that could be suitable for anyone with experience in the army or other armed forces.
Here, we’ll examine how you could make the transition into a government career as an army leaver, why you might want to do this, and what roles could be up for grabs if you do.
Why the government?
Service leavers have plenty of transferable skills that make them perfect for government roles and highly sought-after by employers, from the ability to adapt under pressure and critical thinking to compassion.

From the applicant’s point of view, there is excellent potential for career progression and more job security than may be the case in almost any other industry, whether you work directly with the government or with one of its partner organisations or contractors.

In fact, the government is so committed to linking ex-service personnel up with good jobs within its departments that it launched its ‘Great Place to Work for Veterans’ initiative in 2020.

Recognising the positive attributes that the 15,000 people who leave the armed forces each year can offer, it now uses the Success Profiles Framework to recruit - and guarantees that candidates who meet the minimum criteria for selected roles in government will be able to reach a more advanced stage of selection.

That’s why there is arguably never a better time to look for jobs in central government than now.

What government departments might be hiring veterans?

There are a number of key employers within the government and civil service in particular, but some of the best include:

The Ministry of Justice

Data from the CTP shows the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) has a good track record in recruiting service veterans, particularly in the prison service. Indeed, they make up around ten per cent of prison officer recruits.

Its Advance into Justice scheme also offers the potential to fast-track into a new career protecting the public.

The Ministry of Defence

Another central government department, the MoD has more than 650 sites across the globe and offers in excess of 2,000 different roles, making it one of the most exciting employers you can find.

The Cabinet Office

Viewed as the centre of government, this department supports the prime minister and effective operations. It prides itself on its diverse workforce representing the people it serves, so ex-forces personnel are welcome under the ‘Great Place to Work for Veterans’ scheme.

The Home Office

This has a wider range of careers than people might think, as it also includes the UK Border Force to protect entry points like airports and ports, as well as enforcing customs regulations and immigration. 

What type of roles could be available to army leavers?

Thanks to the wide variety of training service veterans will have received throughout their careers, there is almost no limit to the potential jobs available in civilian life once they leave.

The government is no exception, and it is frequently advertising for everything from software engineers and cloud deployment technicians to data scientists, researchers and fraud investigators.

Project managers are especially highly sought-after when it comes to being able to take the lead in government departments and deliver the rapid results the public demands.

A quick search online will often reveal opportunities in the MoD in project implementation for example, as well as roles in civilian consultancy.

In the Cabinet Office you could work as a data protection officer, senior data architect or physical security advisor, while the Home Office frequently advertises border patrol officer jobs.

As mentioned earlier, the MoJ is also a top employer of prison officers, which could be ideal for army leavers.

What security clearances might you need?

Many government roles require at least some type of security clearance in order to provide assurance regarding a candidate’s suitability to be trusted with access to sensitive information.

Fortunately, this is something many armed forces leavers will already have, potentially giving them an advantage over the competition.

For example, a Security Check (SC) may be necessary for those with access to secret assets such as employees of the MoD, while Developed Vetting could be necessary as the highest level of clearance for personnel entering government in the intelligence or security agencies.

Disclosure and Barring Services (DBS) is likely to be a minimum for positions working with children or vulnerable adults, while an Accreditation Check (AC) and a Counter Terrorist Check (CTC) will likely be required for people with access to airports or proximity to public figures respectively.

There are already many armed forces leavers enjoying varied careers in government and making an excellent contribution to their communities, so why not look into becoming one of them after you hang up your uniform?

For more information about roles available in government, check out our vacancies board at