Working for MOD

Careers in the Ministry of Defence

Join the armed forces

If you are interested in a career in defence, please see the armed forces websites:

Join the reserves

Do something different! Join the reserves.

The UK reserve forces play a vital part in our nation’s defence. Find out how you can get involved and what is on offer for reserves.

Is it for you?

All types of people are putting their spare time to better use as reserves in the armed forces. Being a reserve is as rewarding as it is challenging. You’ll train and deploy alongside our regular forces, doing things you never pictured yourself doing, learning new skills and meeting people who, like you, want more from life. Read about it from others who have taken up the challenge: reserves case studies.

Your spare time, transformed

All the reserve forces (Royal Navy, Royal Marines, British Army and Royal Air Force) are actively recruiting: follow the links to find out what opportunities are available to you and how to join.

You may also wish to consider becoming a Cyber Reserve

What’s on offer?

For reserves:

  • adventure, travel, personal development and life long friendships
  • paid for training days
  • additional annual tax-free training bonus
  • there is even a pension from April 2015
  • your military training will be recognised with civilian accreditation

Find out more about the changes to the reserves in future reserves: key facts.

For employers:

Are you an employer of reserves? Is one of your employees thinking of joining the reserves?

We will:

  • provide additional financial support to small, medium sized enterprises
  • save an employer £8000 worth of development skills training

Find out more about reserve service and what benefits it can bring to your organisation in the employer support measures: key facts chapter.

  • Defence Relationship Management (DRM) provides support to both reserves and their employers.

Find out how DRM can help you and your employer.

Are you in the NHS? We are recruiting medics.

Find out how you can use your skills as a reserve and progress your career at the same time on the NHS careers reservist website.

Civil Service careers

For Ministry of Defence (MOD) civilian jobs please see Civil Service Jobs

The ‘Civil Service core competence framework’ applies.

For information about opportunities in equipment and support see Working for (DE&S)

Non-civil service jobs are advertised on our departmental pages, please see Defence Engineering and Science Group (DESG) for more information.

For information on working as a statistician in defence visit the Government Statistical Service

For information about opportunities with the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl), see ‘Working for Dstl’.

Security vetting

We process 3 main types of National Security Vetting (NSV) checks and clearances.

Counter Terrorist Check (CTC) for people employed in posts with proximity to public figures, access to information or material assessed to be of value to terrorists or unescorted access to establishments assessed to be at risk from terrorist attack. A CTC does not allow a person access to or knowledge of protectively marked assets.

Security Check (SC) for people employed in posts which have substantial access to secret assets or occasional controlled access to top secret assets.

Developed Vetting (DV) is needed for people with substantial unsupervised access to top secret assets.

A small number of clearances are granted where the risks are managed through follow up work and monitoring. We call this activity ‘Aftercare’. We also process Aftercare for all MOD clearances that are granted normally.

See National Security Vetting publications

Equality and diversity

MOD is committed to diversity and all walks of life, irrespective of race, ethnic origin, gender, religion and without reference to social background or sexual orientation.

Foreword by the Permanent Under Secretary and Chief Defence Staff

The MOD is a large and complex organisation, being a Department of State as well as being responsible for our armed forces. We are fully committed to attracting and retaining staff who reflect the diverse community that we serve. Additionally, where we interact with, or provide services to, members of the public we will take action to address the needs of all.

Equality and diversity is not a policy we pursue simply because the legislation requires us to. We pursue the policy because it is morally right and because it makes excellent business sense. Valuing diversity is about appreciating and enhancing everything that everyone, regardless of background, has to offer.

Last year saw the introduction of the Public Sector Equality Duty - a provision of the Equality Act 2010. The Duty plays a key role in ensuring that fairness and transparency remains at the heart of the work public bodies and that public services meet the needs of different groups. To that end we are publishing a range of information about our equality and diversity policies and practices. We have now published our Strategic Objectives 2012 to 2016, which follows the public consultation document on proposals for our equality objectives 2011 to 2014.

The post-Strategic Defence and Security Review (SDSR) resource constraints and service and civilian workforce reductions make for a challenging environment but Defence Transformation is an opportunity to ensure we work smarter, and in line with the spirit of the new legislation, that we focus on outcomes rather than process. We have a very positive story to tell; there remains, however, much to be done. We are keen to encourage greater engagement with staff and will continue to look outside the business to see how we can learn from each other on applying best practice on equality and diversity.

Equality and diversity in the armed forces

The armed forces today offer a wide range of jobs, and can be called upon to operate in many roles, around the world. In an increasingly fast-moving world, they come into contact with a wide variety of cultures, situations and environments. We need people with talent, energy and motivation, who have the ability to work under pressure and thrive on new challenges. We are committed to recruiting and retaining the best people for the job from all walks of life, irrespective of race, ethnic origin, gender, religion and without reference to social background or sexual orientation.

The armed forces are an equal opportunities employer and are committed to ensuring a working environment free from harassment, intimidation and unlawful discrimination, in which each individual is not only valued and respected – but encouraged to realise their full potential.

Our equality and diversity policies are not about political correctness. Operational effectiveness depends on cohesion and teamwork, which are enhanced by treating everyone fairly, with dignity and respect. And it is right that the armed forces should be representative of the diverse society they exist to defend.

The MOD Equality and Diversity Scheme 2008-2011 which encompasses race, disability, gender, age religion or belief and sexual orientation sets out how the Armed Forces will meet the statutory requirement to promote equality and diversity.

Read more about equality and diversity in the Royal Navy, Army and the Royal Air Force (RAF).

What we expect from our people

We expect every one of our people, whether uniformed or civilian, to fulfill their personal responsibilities:

  • to foster a working environment where all personnel feel comfortable and are welcomed and valued for their unique contributions to operational effectiveness
  • to promote a working environment that values dignity, respect and fairness
  • to promote standards of best behaviour and comply with the law with regard to creating equality of opportunity and not discriminating against others

Affiliations and partnerships

The MOD is a member of the following organisations:

  • Stonewall
  • Race for Opportunity
  • Opportunity Now
  • Employers Forum on Disability
  • And affiliated to a:gender


The MOD has now published its Strategic Diversity Objectives.

Diversity action plan

The Civilian diversity action plan 2012 has been drafted and is awaiting Permanent Secretary approval. It will be published here in due course.

A separate armed forces plan is being coordinated to support delivery of the Strategic Objectives.

UK armed forces equal pay audit

This report details the findings of the first Equal Pay Audit for the UK armed forces. It compares the average salaries of male and female, and white and black minority ethnic personnel doing broadly equivalent work.


The armed forces have been working hard in recent years to increase recruitment and representation from UK ethnic minority communities. The services continue to commit significant effort and resources to engage and raise awareness among all of the UK’s minority groups and to encourage members of those groups to consider a career in the armed forces.

All 3 services are particularly active in diversity action and mentoring within areas with large ethnic minority populations aimed at promoting service careers. They are engaged in numerous and varied initiatives to encourage more young people from ethnic minority backgrounds to join the armed forces. Intake from ethnic minorities into the UK regular armed forces was provisionally for the 12 month ending 30 September 2009 4.8 per cent for the Royal Navy, 11 per cent for the Army and 2.6 per cent for the RAF.

The armed forces aim to reach 8 per cent ethnic minority representation by 2013 (in order to reflect ethnic minority representation in UK society). Ethnic minority representation in the regular armed forces has risen substantially in recent years from just over 1 per cent in 1999 to a provisional figure of 6.6 per cent as at 1 October 2009.

We are committed to increasing this representation and want to see more personnel from these groups coming through to senior positions. The armed forces recognise that it will take many years before the benefits of their recruiting efforts are realised and ethnic minorities are fully represented at all levels in the services. The armed forces need the very best men and women; irrespective of race, ethnic origin or religion.

Women play an essential part in the armed forces, which includes many challenging and dangerous roles that carry immense responsibility. Many of these are frontline roles such as flying combat aircraft, serving on warships and ground combat support roles. Servicewomen currently represent around 9.5 per cent of the total armed forces strength.

The armed forces are committed to maximising opportunities for women consistent with the need to maintain combat effectiveness. The majority of posts in the armed forces are now open to women: 71 per cent of posts in the Navy, 67 per cent of posts in the Army and 96 per cent of posts in the RAF.

The percentage of women serving in the armed forces is increasing. In the UK’s regular Forces the percentage of women has increased from 5.7 per cent in 1990 to 9.5 per cent as at 1 October 2009. The RAF has the highest percentage of female personnel (13.7 per cent), followed by the Naval service (9.6 per cent) then the Army (7.9 per cent).

As at 1 October 2009 there were 18,250 women in the armed forces. 3,860 were officers and 14,380 in other ranks. The total number of armed forces personnel (male and female) is 191,320. (all figures are provisional)

Women hold key positions in the armed forces and are now reaching senior ranks, such as Captain in the Royal Navy, Brigadier in the army and Air Commodore in the RAF. The attainment of 2 Star rank (Rear Admiral, Major General or Air Vice-Marshal) and above has tended to depend on operational experience in the Combat Arms and at present there are no women in these ranks.

However, as women are increasingly deploying on operations they may attain these higher ranks with time. This increased contribution to the combat effectiveness of the armed forces is reflected in the award of medals for gallantry for the first time to women during operational deployments.

These include:

  • the Military Cross awarded to Able Seaman Kate Nesbitt of the Royal Navy
  • the Military Cross awarded to Private Michelle Norris of the Royal Army Medical Corps
  • the Distinguished Flying Cross awarded to Flight Lieutenant Michelle Goodman
  • the armed forces have a generous occupational maternity scheme. However, continuing difficulties in reconciling family (especially child and elder care), service commitments to go to sea or deployment overseas remain obstacles to career advancement for many women. Significant efforts are however being made to introduce more ‘family friendly’ policies to aid the retention of female personnel.

All recruits need to be fit and able but some minor disabilities that do not interfere with an individual’s employment need not necessarily be a bar to joining.

Promotion of equality and diversity policies

Strong leadership and understanding by all personnel, especially those in key positions of responsibility, is necessary to encourage a military culture that is seen both to promote and welcome diversity. The service chiefs have given a strong personal commitment to the importance and benefits of diversity in order to bring about real change.

Education and awareness of diversity and equality issues is essential. We regard this as a high priority area.

The Joint Equality and Diversity Training Centre at Shrivenham has a vital role to play. This centre, unique within Europe, provides training for dedicated equality and diversity advisers and all senior officers. We want to see senior managers confronting prejudice and acting decisively to remove it.

School leavers, apprentices and Welbeck College

School leavers

Whether involved in combat, peacekeeping duties or the provision of humanitarian aid following natural disasters, the armed forces depend on the support and expertise provided by our civilian staff. We would like this to be you.

The MOD offers many varied opportunities for school leavers throughout the UK where you can make a real difference to defence. The number of different careers are too many to list in full, but they include personal secretary, pay clerk, commercial officer, project and admin support, finance clerk, commodity manager, course administrator and recruitment and marketing, along with many others.

All these roles are absolutely vital to our mission in defence, giving a unique vision and access to some of the most interesting work in government. Perhaps you could be a commercial officer buying vehicles for the army. Perhaps you could be a personal secretary to a senior civil servant who decides the latest defence policy. Perhaps you could be a commodity manager routeing supplies to a recent disaster area.

But we don’t just focus on your current job, we place an enormous emphasis on your future. Every single person in the organisation is given comprehensive training and development, including the opportunity to develop cross-disciplines.

As the MOD is so large it is entirely possible to change career direction, perhaps even study for professional qualifications, while retaining your status and similar conditions of employment - including your pension and leave allowance. Examples would be engineers moving into personnel or accountancy, and administrators becoming graphic designers or logisticians.

This is in addition to a number of management development schemes aimed at the full spectrum of the MOD workforce, designed to help you fulfil your true potential.


The Ministry of Defence (MOD) is the largest provider of apprenticeships in the UK with achievement rates that are well above the national average. Apprenticeships are available to civil servants and the armed forces.

There are around 20,000 apprentices on a programme in the armed forces at any one time, ranging from engineering and construction to hospitality and animal care, with new schemes recently developed such as digital information. The department has achieved over 150,000 apprenticeships.

The MOD and its agencies are also one of the major providers of civilian apprenticeships within the Civil Service, with 20 schemes on offer and more being planned. These range from craft and technician apprenticeships, to engineering and management. The types and numbers of apprenticeships available each year vary based on business requirement.

Apprenticeships are a great way to gain a nationally recognised qualification while working and can last between 1 to 5 years depending on the apprenticeship. The qualifications range from a level 2 (equivalent to 5 GCSEs), a level 3 (equivalent to 2 ‘A’ levels) all the way through to a level 7, which is equivalent to a Masters degree.

The MOD offers the following civilian apprenticeships:

Welbeck: The Defence Sixth Form College

Welbeck College in Leicestershire is an MOD sponsored sixth form college that invests in the future of young people who have a strong desire to take up a science or engineering based career in the armed forces or the Civil Service.

Welbeck has provided the Army with many of its future technical officers for over 50 years. In 2004 the college became a quad-service institution, admitting students with a career ambition to join The Royal Navy, The British Army, The Royal Air Force or to become MOD Civil Service engineers.

The college has become one of the UK’s top sixth form colleges and has an outstanding academic reputation. It offers a unique programme of personal, physical and intellectual development which provides our students with a rounded education specifically designed to meet the needs of today’s modern technical armed forces.

The programme does not end after a 2 year A-level programme, the MOD continues to monitor and support students through university and on to professional training with their respective armed service or within the MOD Civil Service.

Graduate recruitment programmes

Fast Stream

Our premiere development scheme for graduates is Fast Stream, although many graduates also enter through applying for vacancies on Civil Service Jobs.

Defence commercial graduate programme

The defence commercial graduate programme recruits graduates for MOD purchasing and contract management roles. Full details available in the Commercial Graduate brochure.


The MOD also recruits engineering and science graduates into DESG via various schemes.

MOD Information Graduate Scheme

The Ministry of Defence is on the look out for technology savvy, problem solving individuals to join the MOD Information Graduate Scheme.

Family friendly policies in the armed forces

The armed forces offer occupational leave schemes which follow, and in some cases, exceed statutory provision for maternity, paternity and adoption leave.

Armed Forces Occupational Maternity Scheme

All servicewomen regardless of their length of service are entitled to 52 weeks of maternity leave. Eligible Servicewomen are also entitled to receive statutory maternity pay. The Armed Forces Occupational Maternity Scheme (AFOMS) provides qualifying women (those who have at least a year’s continuous service and who intend to return to work for a minimum of 12 months following maternity leave) with full pay for the first 26 weeks of ordinary maternity leave.

Servicewomen who have given birth are screened from deployment in the UK or overseas for at least six months after the birth of their child, unless they volunteer otherwise. The services also endeavour not to deploy both serving parents at the same time, where this does not compromise operational capability.

The armed forces occupational paternity leave scheme provides qualifying fathers with 14 days of ordinary paternity leave, instead of the statutory provision of 10 days, with 2 weeks’ full pay rather than the statutory paternity pay rate at the time of the birth of a child or a child’s placement in the case of adoptions. Additional paternity leave was introduced for members of the armed forces in 2011 and this enables parents to share responsibility for looking after their children in the case of births and placements for adoption.

The armed forces are exempt from the flexible working provisions of UK employment legislation, as working patterns that might compromise the operational flexibility of the armed forces are incompatible with regular service. Arrangements are in place to improve, where possible, the work-life balance of both male and female personnel. These include:

  • career breaks of over 3 months and up to 3 years
  • special unpaid leave of up to 93 days
  • variable start/finish times of the working day
  • short-term home working
  • compressed hours (working longer on some days to allow an earlier finish on other days)
  • an allowance of 38 days’ leave, 8 of which are public holidays