Military veterans feel they are facing discrimination at civilian job interviews as potential employers quiz them about having post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), a new survey suggests.
One-in-10 veterans has had interviews where a potential employer has raised concerns about them having mental illnesses as a result of their military service.
PTSD is seen as a major barrier to a successful civilian career, according to a third of former-military personnel, the survey by Barclays found.
Veterans are battling a public misperception that many are suffering from metal illness, a former Army officer who now heads a programme recruiting veterans for the bank said.
Stuart Tootal, a former colonel who commanded 3 Para in Helmand during 2006, said: “There is a misperception that absolutely needs to be corrected out there.
“Some veterans feel they are being asked about their mental health state where anyone else who is applying for a job, who doesn’t have a military background, would not be asked about their mental health - it’s just not something that you do.
“It’s absolutely wrong that veterans should be asked about it and also we need to correct this misperception that PTSD is an issue that is a barrier to employment, because I don’t think it is as long as the individual is being assisted.”
He went on: “Yes, some veterans may suffer from PTSD, but it will be the minority and PTSD treated like any other mental health condition, there’s absolutely no reason that it should be a barrier to employment.
“I have employed a number of ex-servicemen who have had PTSD issues, but we have been aware of it, they’ve been clinically treated for it, and it has not been a problem for employment.”
He said Barclays had recruited more than 350 veterans under the programme. “They have absolutely proved that they are a significant talent pool with leadership, the ability to solve problems, and a sense of working for the collective good of an organisation, rather than self interest.”
A 2014 review by Lord Ashcroft of how veterans fared in the civilian world said more had to be done to counter the myth veterans were plagued by problems such as PTSD, homelessness and alcoholism.
The Conservative peer said the misconception had been fed by the media and charity fundraising campaigns and was hindering veterans from getting jobs when they quit the Services.
Ray Lock, chief executive of the Forces in Mind Trust, said: “There’s a perception that military service leads to damage where as the vast majority of people who do serve, their lives are enormously enriched by their military service and they go on when they leave to make the most fantastic contributions to civilian society.”