Why should ex-forces personnel consider security cleared roles?

Published on: 14 Mar 2022

Security clearances are extremely advantageous for a range of industries. Maybe they need people to handle sensitive data, or work closely with processes and locations that need to be kept secret. Whatever the case, having an employee with a clearance showing them to be safe and trustworthy is a major boon.

However, actually gaining a security clearance can take a long time, making it hard for many to achieve. That’s where ex-armed forces personnel have a huge advantage. Many already have relevant security clearances, while those that don’t are still likely to pass the vetting process with little issue thanks to their military background.

This makes security cleared jobs excellent options for people leaving the armed forces. The transition to civilian life can be difficult, but your security clearance - or ability to get one quickly and easily - gives you a major advantage in the job market. Here are some of the other reasons you should consider a security cleared career.

A career path suited to ex-forces personnel

After you leave the armed forces, you will want to find a career that utilises your skills. Even if you’re looking for something as far away from military life as possible, you still don’t want to be starting from scratch and learning everything from step one. The nature of jobs that require a security clearance means that these will likely fall under that category.

First of all, you might have technical skills that are transferable over to a civilian career. For example, if you worked in signals, intelligence or engineering you might be well-suited for jobs in telecommunications, IT, or oil and gas, respectively. In each case, your experience puts you in an excellent place to move up the career ladder. Your security clearance opens up even more doors for you.

Even if you don’t have specific skills for security cleared jobs, you will still have a range of talents from your career in the military that will help you with a security cleared job. For example, you might be good at teamwork, at keeping a cool head under pressure, at communication and at managing others.

You might be surprised at how many opportunities there are for ex-military personnel, especially those with a security clearance. Fields as varied as IT and forensics are all looking for trustworthy, reliable people to work with extremely sensitive data and highly confidential information. Someone leaving the armed forces is exactly what these industries are looking for.

Career progression in security cleared jobs

While every career and job role is different, generally speaking a security cleared job is likely to have extremely good prospects for ex-military personnel. First of all, the fact that security clearance is required generally means the salary will be higher than an equivalent, non-cleared role.

This also means you could be starting out at a relatively high level in your chosen career. Depending on the level of experience you received from the armed forces, you might be able to move straight into a management role.

Competition is also a key factor to consider. While progression is available within the armed forces, it can be fairly set and hard to move up in the ranks. In a security cleared job, you will likely be working in a field with a skills shortage where people with your experience are in high demand. If you find yourself in a role with few options for progression, another company will likely be more than happy to take you on at a higher-level position.

Potential experiences

So, what careers are available for ex-military personnel with a security clearance? There is a huge range of possibilities, but here are some options you might not have considered. One career move could be to the public sector. Governments are constantly undertaking high-value projects and in need of project managers, something your skills could make you perfect for.

There is also an increasing need for talented people to work in IT in the public sector. This could be something as simple as helping a government department run smoothly, but you might also consider going into cybersecurity and working to counter fraud and malicious computer interference.

In the private sector there are still plenty of possible roles. The energy industry, for example, is in need of talented people with security clearances to work on projects such as nuclear power facilities, where secrecy is vital. Similarly, the oil and gas industry is always looking for people with experience working at sea; perfect if you’ve come from the navy or marines.

Whatever career you choose, opting for a security cleared job ensures you’re making the best use of your time in the armed forces by using it to boost your civilian career. Because so few people have a security clearance, competition for these jobs is lower and good people are in high demand. It’s the perfect move for ex-military personnel.