Ex-female soldiers asked if they can act feminine during job interviews

Gender inequality is a passé problem but it’s still present and this becomes crystal clear with Barclays research that shows the difficulties female veterans face getting a job

Ex-female soldiers asked if they can act feminine during job interviews

 It’s hardly a secret companies have stereotypes for women while recruiting. Remember that time a receptionist was sent packing from PwC for not having heels on? But business heads have been harbouring too many prejudiced ideas for female veterans in particular.

This was backed by a study done by Barclays’ Armed Forces Transition, Employment & Resettlement (AFTER) programme, which shed light on the bias companies have against ex-female soldiers when they apply for a job.

Of the 502 veterans surveyed, 42% of females said they felt their military background was the reason they hadn’t been offered job interviews or taken through to next stages of the application process, according to the report. For those who did get through, one in three faced questions on whether they knew how to act and dress in a femininely. Further to this, while 39% of male veterans found a job within a month, this was true for only 21% of women.

To counter the problem, 44% of ex-female soldiers took on additional training to feel more competent, which fell to 28% for men – a testament of the gender disparity company leaders are guilty of ignoring.

While women have been successful to break the glass ceiling in combat, businesses haven’t advanced their attitudes to cater to female veterans’ employment needs. There has been an increase of women in the army who make up 10.3% of the UK regular forces, however, it seems the transition to a civilian lifestyle is a challenging mountain to scale. And being discriminated against only makes that slope more slippery.

Commenting on businesses stereotyping ex-military women, Stuart Tootal, head of the Barclays AFTER programme, said: “It’s disappointing to see that female veterans are being overlooked and having to go the extra mile when transitioning into a civilian career. We must all play our part and take action to level this playing field – businesses must provide more support to veterans of both sexes and fully recognise the very real talent that they can add to any organisation.”

From struggling to stay alive whilst protecting the nation to getting a paycheque for putting food on the table — the difficulties a female veteran has cannot be fathomed and businesses definitely need to be more inclusive.

Varsha Saraogi
Varsha Saraogi

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