Soldiers are apparently in great demand in the job market. While military veterans can start their own businesses like a carboot sale business (Find carboots near you), getting a career can also be another great path.
Why more and more companies are specifically recruiting well-trained specialists and where to find them?
In view of the shortage of skilled workers, more and more German companies are specifically looking for soldiers. The vocational training service (BFD) of the armed forces now has fixed contacts at about 5,000 companies that offer jobs and training places as well as internships for departing soldiers, said the personnel administration of the Bundeswehr in Cologne. “The number of cooperations and contacts in the economy is increasing from year to year.” These include large and well-known companies such as the post office, Deutsche Bahn, the retail chain Rewe and the US group Amazon.
The Internet platform Dienstzeitende.de, based in Burgheim, Upper Bavaria, specializes in finding jobs for soldiers. “Some companies like Amazon even have their own military recruiter, i.e. a former soldier as a personnel manager who addresses other soldiers,” says managing director Stefan Geßner, himself a former officer.
The Verdi union, which has been at loggerheads with Amazon for years over its demand for a collective bargaining agreement, has criticized Amazon’s search for “executives with a military background” for the company’s fulfillment centers. But the vast majority of companies that recruit soldiers are obviously not interested in keeping employees in check with the help of barracks barking.
Reliable, disciplined, and flexible: soldiers for the job market
The Bundeswehr itself paints the suitability of its soldiers for the labor market in the most beautiful colors: “They are characterized in particular by a high degree of reliability, sense of responsibility, (self-)discipline, teamwork, and high flexibility,” says the personnel administration. “In the context of assignments abroad, they acquire intercultural competence and prove their high resilience in stressful situations.” The bottom line: If you don’t despair in Afghanistan, you should be well prepared for Amazon.
Good technical education plus high motivation
Managing Director Geßner describes the situation somewhat more soberly: “Many companies attach more importance to vocational training than to the fact that someone was a soldier.” This is confirmed by the railway: “As a rule, former soldiers bring good technical training and a large portion of motivation,” says a spokesman. “On average, around 100 former soldiers start with Deutsche Bahn every year, and we look forward to seeing even more.”
Indeed, the armed forces offer training of all kinds, from truck driving licenses to university studies. “The Bundeswehr is one of the most social employers, the career opportunities are enormous,” says Geßner.
But there are also employers who like to hire former soldiers because of their specific expertise: “They usually enter the job market in their mid-30s, they have training or studies, know where to go, can assert themselves, and are capable of dealing with people in every respect,” reports Geßner. Industries that like to hire former soldiers traditionally include security and guard services.
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A strong player in a team with logistics experience
Amazon, in any case, emphasizes that the company is not looking for authoritarian executives trained in the command tone, but those who are team players and can motivate employees: “Many soldiers have gained such valuable experience for years,” explains a spokesman. “In addition, there are many specialists and managers in the Bundeswehr with logistics experience.”
However, the change to civilian professional life is not always easy: “However, soldiers often have comparatively little experience in their profession,” reports Geßner, Managing Director of the end of service. “A tank grenadier who trained as an industrial mechanic spent quite a bit of time in the field and not in the workshop.”
According to Geßner, a sticking point is often the pay: “Soldiers have a very decent salary structure. A truck driver sometimes has 200 to 300 euros net more per month in the Bundeswehr than in a private company.” And after a period of service characterized by constantly changing stations, many feel a need to settle down: “When soldiers leave, they often no longer feel like commuting every weekend, but prefer a job in their home region,” says Geßner. “In Upper Bavaria this is not a problem, but in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania or the deepest rural Hesse it can be difficult to find a suitable job.”