Indian Corporations Tap Growing Talent Pool of Ex-Service Personnel


Indian conglomerates and major corporations are increasingly tapping into the talent pool of former military personnel as they look to expand their businesses.

Reliance Industries, for instance, hired nearly 2,000 ex-service personnel in FY24, a 33% increase from the previous year, bringing their total number of former defense forces personnel to 7,500, the highest in any Indian company.

Other companies such as Tata Group, Maruti Suzuki, Adani Group, RPG Group, Vedanta, Sodexo, and ONGC have also been hiring former military personnel.

These individuals bring a unique set of skills and experiences to the corporate world, including a high level of fitness and discipline, execution rigor, crisis management skills, and the ability to perform in challenging environments.

Vedanta, a natural resources group, launched a structured initiative in FY24 to hire ex-defense service veterans, shifting from its previous practice of hiring them on a need basis.

Every year, an estimated 55,000-60,000 personnel retire from the army, navy, and air force, providing a large pool of potential candidates. In addition, many officers who are passed over for promotion in their 50s leave the forces, with a large majority seeking employment in the corporate sector.

According to Commodore Sudheer Parakala, chief mentor and past president of the Tri-services Ex-servicemen Welfare Association, about 30% of officers in each rank of the armed forces are superseded and many choose to leave.

Large Indian corporations such as Reliance, Adani, L&T, and Tatas hire them in various functions such as HR, administration, supply chain, and strategy.

Hiring military veterans not only adds to the diversity of the workforce but also helps companies address skills shortages in certain areas. Ex-servicemen possess unique skills developed during their years in the defence organization, including problem-solving, teamwork, stakeholder management, and project management.

They are also in demand in sectors such as logistics, ecommerce, and warehousing due to their ability to manage crises and execute effectively. Other sectors such as automobile, manufacturing, power, telecom, logistics, and warehousing also employ ex-servicemen in various roles.

Sodexo, a global leader in food and facility management, hires professionals with military backgrounds, many of whom hold leadership positions in the company.

This trend of hiring ex-service personnel reflects a growing recognition of the valuable skills and experiences they bring to the corporate world. As Indian companies continue to grow and expand, they are increasingly looking to former military personnel to help them achieve their goals.

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