Institutional aspects of competence-based integration of retired military officers into the civilian labour market

Publication Date04 February 2019
Date04 February 2019
AuthorVidmantas Tūtlys,Jonathan Winterton,Odeta Liesionienė
SubjectHR & organizational behaviour,Global HRM
Institutional aspects of
competence-based integration
of retired military officers into
the civilian labour market
Vidmantas Tūtlys
Department of Education Science, Faculty of Social Sciences,
Vytauto Didžiojo Universitetas, Kaunas, Lithuania
Jonathan Winterton
Faculty of Business and Law, Taylors University, Subang Jaya, Malaysia, and
Odeta Liesionienė
Faculty of Social Sciences, Vytauto Didžiojo Universitetas, Kaunas, Lithuania
Purpose The purpose of this paper is to highlight systemic factors of competence-based integration of
retired military officers into the civilian labour market in terms of the perspective of the institutions and
institutional settings of competence involved in the formation and deployment.
Design/methodology/approach This study is based on semi-structured face-to-face interviews with
25 retired military officers in Lithuania.
Findings The maininstitutional problemsand challenges of the competence-based labourmarket integration
of retired militaryofficers involve are concentrated in the fields ofdeployment of skills in the militaryservice,
and as well as in the adjustmentof acquired skills to the requirements of the civilian labour market.
Research limitations/implications The main limitation of the research is the absence of perspectives
and attitudes of other stakeholders such as policy makers, employers and providers of education and training.
Practical implications Research identified expectations of retired military officers concerning
improvement of training and labour market integration services.
Originality/value The paper is focused on the institutional aspects of competence-based labour market
integration of the retired military officers from their perspective.
Keywords Qualitative, Competence, Qualification, Labour market integration, Military service,
Institutional settings, Retired military officers
Paper type Research paper
When military personnel leave active duty, they may have trouble finding civilian jobs
(Burnett-Zeigler et al., 2011). The integration of retired soldiers and military officers into the
civilian labour market is an important and complex issue from several perspectives.
The issues include social integration, professional self-realisation, assuring the right to work
and continuing employment and the effective use of human resources (HR) under conditions
of contemporary demographic and labour market challenges. Skills and competencies
are important factors in these processes. Military service facilitates the acquisition of
substantial and diverse knowledge, skills and experience that can be used in a wide range
of contexts. Despite the universal relevance of these issues, they are also highly important in
different national contexts. Development and deployment of such skills and competencies in
the civil labour market are strongly influenced by existing institutional settings and models
of skill formation and deployment. Labour market integration of retired military officers and
related competence development issues in Lithuania and other countries of Central and
Eastern Europe presents an interesting case for analysing the institutional aspects of
competence-based labour market integration.
Personnel Review
Vol. 48 No. 1, 2019
pp. 21-39
© Emerald PublishingLimited
DOI 10.1108/PR-01-2018-0007
Received 7 January 2018
Revised 11 February 2018
Accepted 4 June 2018
The current issue and full text archive of this journal is available on Emerald Insight at:
The Armed Forces of the Republic of Lithuania were officially restored in 1992 by
decision of the Supreme Council of Lithuania. The Armed Forces in the first decades after
restoration consisted of conscript service and voluntary military service. One of the key
factors that influenced institutional development of the Armed Forces and military service
in Lithuania was joining NATO in 2004, having participated in the NATO Partnership for
peace programme since 1994. Joining NATO boosted the internationalisation of the armed
forces, as well as significantly strengthening the international dimension of training and
competence development in the military.
Currently the armed forces in Lithuania comprises conscript service, active reserve
service (National Defence Voluntary Forces), junior officer command training and
professional military service. In 2008, conscript service was abolished, and professional
military service introduced in line with other NATO countries. Conscription was
reintroduced in 2015 in response to threats posed by the shifting geopolitical situation in the
region. Each year some 3,5004,000 citizens of conscript age (1926) are enlisted and serve
nine months. Lithuanian men and women aged 1838 years are also invited to enlist for
military service on a voluntary basis. After service, conscripts become prepared military
reserve members of the Army Forces and some take up a professional military career.
Reintegration of service conscripts into the labour market is enhanced by paying their
current or new employers a wage subsidy in the six months after military service. Junior
Officer Command Training offers the opportunity of military service for students of higher
education establishments. By following this training, students and graduates can acquire
the military officer qualification and a military rank within three years of graduating.
Military volunteer service is discontinuous military service compatible with civil work or
study. The admissible age for voluntary military service is between 18 and 55 years, with
duration of the contract of service ranging from three to five years. While serving in the
armed forces, volunteer soldiers obtain a military qualification, participating in military
exercises and international missions. Professional military service is accessible to citizens
up to 55 years old who are without convictions involving imprisonment. Qualifications and
ranks of military officers can also be acquired by studying at the Lithuanian Military
Academy and acquiring academic degrees.
In 2011, the reform of military ranks and qualifications altered the titles of military ranks
and separated the categories of career officers and specialists. Ranks were introduced for
military specialists: sergeant specialist, senior sergeant specialist and staff sergeant
specialist. The goals were to attract more high-skilled specialists (such as medical doctors
and ICT specialists) to serve in the Armed Forces and to rationalise officer training.
Dual qualifications were introduced combining a professional qualification and higher
education required for the execution of duties, with the military rank of sergeant, which is
awarded after passing a compulsory military training course (Lietuvos Respublikos Krašto
apsaugos ministerija, 2012). Qualification requirements for obtaining military rank consist
of specialized training, duration of service and acquired civil education (higher education
degree). Existing qualification requirements of military ranks define a strictly linear
model of career for officers. Training of military officers and soldiers is also dual in
character soldiers and military officers of all ranks acquire the competencies necessary for
executing command duties (to acquire higher rank) and professional competencies
underpinning a professional qualification.
Efforts to facilitate employment and employability of retired military officers and
soldiers in the civilian labour market to date lack a systemic approach in design and
implementation. In 2005, by Decree of Government (No. 1030), a national programme was
approved for the social adaptation, medical rehabilitation and professional guidance of
military officers and soldiers. According to this programme, in the six months prior to
retirement each soldier or military officer is made aware of the possibilities of the

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