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Progressively part-time, multi-job workforces, and flexible, automated workplaces become common, but are increasingly difficult for some to adapt to.

It’s not only the Armed Forces that are experiencing change. The workforce and workplace are also in transition. “We are going to have an uncertain decade.” With more gig-working and freelance contractors, as well as a surge in home-working, the possibility of a 9 to 5 job with a single employer is rapidly disappearing for a good proportion of the population. For those used to structured roles within long-term employers, having to adapt to an unstructured work environment may well be tricky. “People coming out of the military have been surrounded by enormous certainty from an unambiguous environment with clear relationships, operations, and emotional support. A lot of that certainty can disappear when they leave.” Having to adapt to different ways of working “may be more difficult for the military”, and “the lack of hierarchy, fluidity, and cultural EQ required in organisations is what they may find most difficult to navigate.”

Not everyone agreed with this view. “It is dangerous to assume that the military won’t change – it might well become more fluid, agile, and arguably more porous as well.” In recognition of the need to update its working practices, adaptions have already been put in place to make provision for greater flexibility. For example, “the Armed Forces (Flexible Working) Act already allows members of the Armed Forces to serve part time, or to restrict the amount of time they spend away from their normal place of work.” There has also been experimentation with a reduction in hierarchy and “a flattening of structures.” Several even envisage that over the next decade there will be a “wholesale modernisation of the career structure – the gig economy and how we embrace the skills we need, when we need them.” Looking ahead, although working practices in the Armed Forces are unlikely to be as fully fluid as those of civilian workers, and the added flexibility could challenge traditional military conventions, it may well make it easier for those wishing to transition to step into the civilian economy.

An Implication: A re-presentation of military service as a first career, with multiple skills acquisitions, assists those in transition to find and integrate into new roles .

 

Discussion

3 Comments

Anonymous

The shift from being part of a community, where togetherness matters, to being in a more isolated world feels very different. What does a career mean, what does a job mean? Working from home, being with the family. The fluid nature of this will be even harder for those from the military.

Anonymous

In the military there is a ‘one team’ culture which is brilliant…and yet it can be harder to be an individual. In the civilian world, there is an individual focus and organisations find it hard to generate that ‘one team culture.