Employing veterans makes good business sense

Australia's military is among the most highly skilled in the world, and  Australian Defence Force (ADF) members receive world-class training.

When veterans leave the ADF, they take with them a unique combination of qualifications, training, experience and skills.

There are more than 200 different roles across the ADF, and veterans bring specialist qualifications and technical expertise in sought-after fields including healthcare, trades, engineering, project management and logistics, information management, hospitality, security and many more.

Just as importantly, veterans have demonstrated experience and existing high-level capabilities in leadership and decision making, problem solving and critical thinking, risk management and communication. They also have the proven ability to work in high-pressure environments and have the personal qualities of integrity, loyalty, self-discipline and perseverance. This skill set is difficult to obtain and expensive to cultivate in new employees. 

In an increasingly competitive labour market access to experienced and highly skilled candidates is a competitive advantage. 

Each year around 6,000 members leave the ADF, and businesses have an ideal opportunity to take advantage of this professional talent pool.

Veterans represent a unique, diverse and high-performing source of talent

Veterans have an extensive range of skills, abilities and attributes that make them valuable employees; including leadership, organisational skills, and resilience. These skills are easily transferable from ADF to civilian workplaces. What is missing for some veterans is the ability to translate these skills into a language that the business world can understand.

A missed opportunity

Many employers are missing out on this great talent due to a lack of knowledge about the ADF. Unless a business is part of a defence-related industry or facing a specific skills shortage, they are unlikely to have considered veterans as a potential source of talent.

Australian Defence Force

The ADF consists of the Royal Australian Navy, Australian Army, and the Royal Australian Air Force. The ADF has a strength of just under 80,000 full-time personnel and active reservists.  

There are more than 200 different roles across the ADF, all which provide veterans with transferable skills for the civilian workforce.


    • experience working in high pressure environments
    • current medical knowledge
    • high standards of occupational safety.


    • experience in inventory and financial management
    • excellent food safety and kitchen management capabilities
    • experience working in a high pressure environment.


    • practical skills in trades such as electronics, mechanics and carpentry, to name a few
    • the ability to effectively carry out their trade in high pressure and complex operating environments.

    Project Management, Administration and Logistics

    • experience in the management of large, high value projects
    • responsibility for personnel
    • responsibility for equipment, inventories and supplies.


      • qualifications in mechanical, electrical or civil engineering
      • experience maintaining multi-million dollar defence infrastructure.

      Information Management

      Technical expertise in:

      • cyber-security
      • managing radio and communications technologies
      • ICT architecture
      • analytics.


      • high levels of physical fitness
      • personal qualities such as discipline and attention to detail
      • the ability to manage complex security environments.

        Top five skills veterans bring to the civilian workforce


        Leadership is expected at all levels in the ADF. Veterans have experience working in and leading teams that work together to achieve goals. Leading by example, veterans are expected to delegate, motivate, inspire and deliver results.

        Risk Management

        Veterans are trained to put into practice risk-mitigation strategies to ensure that even in difficult situations they are able to achieve the best results. ADF members plan and replan, test and re-test, check and re-check in every scenario. Success depends on every member of the team being solely focused on delivering their part.

        Problem Solving and Critical Thinking

        All members of the ADF use their knowledge, available facts and situational awareness to solve issues and problems. ‘It can’t be done’ is not something you will hear from a veteran; they are dedicated to finding a solution and delivering results no matter the situation. Veterans are adaptable and flexible and used to operating in a fast paced, changing environment.


        Clear, concise and accurate communications are vital for the effective operation of the ADF. Effective communication is an essential part of operation. Veterans can identify, articulate and share relevant information using well developed communication skills.

        Values Driven

        Members of the ADF are known for their values of integrity, loyalty, self-discipline and perseverance. They have a strong work ethic and their dedication and attention to detail ensures great results.

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