Update: How Defence Industry is Faring During COVID-19

By Rob Kremer on 30 April 2020

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Things are starting to stabilise, but we are still far from normal. We are still talking to workers and employers about what’s going on in industry, and here are some of the things we are seeing.

Working Arrangements

Most companies seem to have implemented WFH arrangements where possible and introduced procedures to keep on-site staff safe. There are still some issues around technology and process, but the heavy lifting seems to have been done.

Companies are also starting to think about what a return to work situation will look like concerning working arrangements. We predict an increased interest from workers in flexible working arrangements after the restrictions are lifted.


75% of companies we have spoken to are forging ahead with their hiring plans, although new processes and reduced capacity to perform selection activities mean that processes are taking longer.

Reduced Hours

Many companies have reduced working hours for their staff. We’ve seen a couple of workplaces reduce staff hours by 20% so as to avoid having to reduce headcount. At the moment, the vast majority of workers we speak to are accepting of these measures.


Companies are thinking/hoping that the government will see defence as a stimulus sector. We have already seen payment terms reduced to two days, and we hear from companies that we speak to that some are being asked how they can bring their work forward by Defence. We also see Defence making every effort to retain and keep productive its sizeable contracted workforce. At least in the short term, all this bodes well for the industry.


Are still applying to jobs! They seem reassured that there is ongoing work in Defence. Some candidates are in wait-and see mode, but they seem to be in the minority. Watch this space for the results of our workforce sentiment survey.

Contingency Planning

Companies are now looking at how they can cover the loss of key workers should individuals or whole teams get ill or need to be quarantined. Even though the curve is flattening, companies are setting in place continuity systems that involve internal staff, short term contract networks, supply chain and even traditional competitor organisations.

In light of this, we’ve pulled together a pool of retired or semi-retired Defence professionals who are ready to jump in at a moment’s notice in case this happens to you – check them out over here.


Photo by Edwin Hooper on Unsplash

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