Our Top Five Security Cleared Jobs for Veterans

On average, as many as 10,000 service personnel leave the military annually for reasons including retirement, health, and changes in situation. Despite years of brave service, such individuals often face overwhelming job markets that may seem, at least from the outside, that they’re impossible to break into. 

In reality, though, veterans possess a wide range of admirable job qualities, including a unique set of skills and, importantly for many employers, an active security clearance at varying levels. This clearance, which can otherwise cost employers thousands of pounds, makes veterans an especially appealing prospect in high-level public-sector industries including government and defence, aerospace, telecommunications, and nuclear. 

Positions in any of these areas can be incredibly rewarding. To simplify your job search and help you find the best role, we’re going to look at the top five security-cleared jobs you may want to consider in these areas. We’ve already produced a detailed guide on security cleared jobs, so if you’re looking for more information head on over to that post first.

How Long Does Security Clearance Last?

Veterans with active or current security clearance are incredibly appealing to employers, but military security clearance doesn’t last forever. Depending on how long it’s been since you left the military, there are three different states of security clearance as follows:

  1. Active: Your current position utilises security clearance
  2. Current: You’ve had SC cleared jobs in the last two years
  3. Expired: It’s been more than two years since you had a job that required security clearance

When veterans seek security-cleared jobs within the first two years of leaving their positions, it’s easy for employers to reinstate those clearances. However, expired clearances can be more difficult to reactivate.

That timeframe may be even less if you left, say, a year before the periodic reinvestigation window for your clearance. This would leave you with just a year of clearance remaining, which highlights the need to work fast to find your next role. 

But, what types of jobs roles should you consider? Let’s discuss this a little further, as there are multiple options.

Our Top Five Security Cleared Jobs for Veterans

Security-cleared jobs for veterans provide a great way to put applicable skills and security clearances into action in a new role. These jobs also tend to be higher paying than many entry-level roles, making them a fantastic option for sustainable veteran careers. The top five security-cleared jobs UK that are worth considering include:

project manager

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Project Manager

Public sector project management roles offer an average base salary of between £35k-£57k a year and are a great option for veterans who have already developed applicable skills including team leadership, organisation, and risk assessment. The ability to work under pressure is another vital skill in this field, with project managers required to handle, organise, and budget everything from public infrastructure projects to the defence sector, and even technical or finance projects. 

The responsibilities of a project manager in these areas may include – 

  • Oversight of system operations
  • Team management
  • Risk and opportunity assessments
  • Handling of health and safety requirements
  • Communicating across supply chains, stakeholders, clients, etc. 
  • Upholding health and safety standards
  • Budget planning
  • And more

Companies looking to hire a security-cleared project manager will expect to see the Baseline Personnel Security Standard (BPSS) listed on your CV. Aside from this, the majority of project managers require only low level security clearance, unless they’re working within central government or defence, where they may require additional SC or DV clearance. Most security-cleared project management roles also require an undergraduate degree, as well as strong literacy, numeracy, and communication skills. 

Cybersecurity Specialist

Cybersecurity specialists can earn between £40k-£69k depending on experience and qualifications. Job titles that are commonly related to this role include cybersecurity specialist, cybersecurity analyst, and information security specialist. In each instance, a cybersecurity specialist is tasked with keeping tabs on everything from an organisation’s overall cybersecurity, to their adherence with current security best practices at all times. 

Military veterans are highly desirable for cyber security roles thanks to in-demand skill sets such as problem-solving and discipline, as well as all-important security clearance. Veterans who worked in intelligence are especially well-suited to this role, which has different in-points including computer science, engineering, or mathematics degrees. 

As well as day-to-day security oversight, the responsibilities of a cybersecurity specialist include – 

  • Creating and implementing security audits across computer systems
  • Updating and protecting networks and systems
  • Designing firewalls and other security measures
  • Monitoring networks for anomalies

Due to having access to, and being responsible for, sensitive security information, cybersecurity specialist roles will typically require high levels of security clearance. These include a BPSS or EBS check if an individual will be working on government contracts.

The majority of cybersecurity roles also require SC clearance as standard, while cybersecurity specialists working in intelligence or security agencies may also need DV and even CTC clearance if working closely with public figures. 

Operations Manger

Salaries for an operations manager range between £35k-£54k a year.

Operations managers are responsible for maintaining and increasing the efficiency of government agencies or businesses. Such individuals must work across departments including IT, finance, and human resources, to supervise everything from hiring and training to quality insurance and process improvements. 

Desirable qualities in veterans seeking operations manager roles include conflict management and negotiation skills, an aptitude for learning, and an understanding of budgets and oversight.

Operations manager

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As the glue that holds the various factions of an organisation together, operations managers must also be able to make fast decisions and implement them immediately to ensure improvements.

The day-to-day responsibilities of an operations manager will most often include:

  • Leading, motivating, and supporting large teams within demanding environments
  • Managing data collection in mind of focuses like productivity targets
  • Partnering effectively with cross-functional teams across a company
  • Working closely with legal and safety departments to remain compliant

Their work across various departments means that operations managers within government agencies require confidential security clearance to a UK SC level. Operations managers may also need DV clearance depending on their area of operation. 

Security Consultant

For an average salary of £41k-£61k, security consultants (also often referred to as security analysts), work with either a single company or multiple clients to analyse and assess potential cybersecurity threats or weak areas. Skills required for this role include troubleshooting, problem-solving, and strategy, all of which are skills most veterans have been developing for years. 

Admittedly, the majority of security consultants should have up to five years of experience, but veterans who worked in intelligence can easily fulfil this experience criteria, especially if they have experience in areas such as – 

  • Penetration testing
  • Persistent threat management
  • Threat modelling and configuration

Security consultants play a key role in public security industries including healthcare, government agencies, and telecommunications, and their responsibilities include – 

  • Maximising the efficiency of data protection for information systems, networks, and software
  • Decreasing risk factors and correcting safety problems
  • Supervising and guiding technical or security employees
  • Researching cybersecurity criteria and validation processes
  • Etc. 

Security consultants who have in-depth knowledge of government or defence security systems require top-level security clearance in most instances. This includes SC, DV, and CTC clearance, especially if a security consultant operates contractually across different government bodies. This is to ensure the protection of incredibly sensitive information and the assurance of genuinely safe systems in the most sensitive areas of UK security.

Intelligence Analyst

Intelligence analyst roles earn an average annual salary of between £27k-£40k and include positions such as criminal intelligence analyst, intelligence officer, and more. Broadly speaking, intelligence analysts work to change intelligence into insight across various government bodies.

They then use this data to detect and prevent crime. Intelligence analyst jobs are particularly appealing for veterans, as there are no specialist requirements to join.

Instead, government agencies seek individuals with experience in a wide range of backgrounds, with a preferable knowledge in things like reasoning skills, intuitive thinking, and a knowledge of public safety and security. 

Intelligence Analyst

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Intelligence analysts will typically work across various areas of government, which will most commonly include science and technology, fraud, counter-terrorism, and defence. Some intelligence analysts may also work in areas such as border defence or organised crime. 

The day-to-day responsibilities of an intelligence analyst include:

  • Collecting and analysing national and international data
  • Monitoring and hypothesising on the behaviours of individuals and groups
  • Presenting findings to managers and agencies
  • Acting as an expert witness in court
  • And more

Despite often working in highly sensitive areas, not all intelligence analysts require high levels of security clearance. In fact, DV and CTC clearance is only required for intelligence analysts working at the forefront of areas like anti-terrorism.

However, there are also plenty of intelligence analyst roles available for individuals with AC or SC clearance.

Put Your Veteran Security Clearance to Good Use 

In summary don’t waste it. Sure, it can be daunting to find a new job after leaving the military, especially when so many roles seem to require years of working experience or intensive qualifications. Still, it’s vital to remember that veterans bring a great deal of desirable benefits to public-sector employers, in particular.

With existing high levels of security clearance, it’s possible to secure any one of these top security cleared jobs or many other high-paying options like them. Simply take some time to consider your level of security clearance as it stands, and which positions your unique military skill set would be best suited to within that.

Finally, please note that the salaries mentioned in this article are only a guide. Most large companies will offer significantly hire wages than the average.