More than a hundred general officers having reached the end of their military careers are leaving the French army every year. The Mission for the Return of General Officers to Civilian Life (MIRVOG), created in 2005 under the French Ministry of Defense, is tasked to accompany these high ranking officers through their professional transition.
Making themselves useful
Coming from ground, air or naval forces but also from other army branches such as the military police or the army health services, these young, highly qualified retirees (58 years old on average) still have a few good years left in their professional life. “Their primary motivation is to make themselves useful” explains the General Alain Pizel, Chief of the MIRVOG.
To assist them in their transition to civilian employment, the MIRVOG proposes a range of services. At the outset, it provides individual coaching sessions, during which officers will reflect on their motivations and goals and design their own professional project. Besides that, the MIRVOG organises group events such as trainings on company management, business creation workshops and networking seminars. This helps bring officers up to speed with the civilian professional world by getting acquainted with the private sector’s mentality and ethos.
The MIRVOG also provides digital assistance. This online support is based on two main tools. First is a virtual community on the professional social network LinkedIn, which has been set up to facilitate contacts between candidates and representatives from the civil society. Second is Jobfeed, Textkernel’s job market analysis tool that collects, extracts and categorises online job postings into a searchable online database. It allows the MIRVOG to present each officer with a tailor-made selection of available jobs on the market. “Jobfeed is a remarkable tool“ says general Pizel, “We hope to use it in the future to generate sector analyses which could help us further improve our support.”
60% of officers transitioned
Through this approach mixing conventional activities and modern tools, the MIRVOG facilitates the transition of close to 60% of officers leaving the army each year. They find themselves working in a variety of environments such as the management of large companies, consulting firms, the non-profit sector or the academic world. Some even start their own business.
In past years, the transition of army personnel has become a major concern for the French defense force. In parallel to the work of the MIRVOG, the “Défense Mobilité” was set up in 2009 federating three former army placement entities. It is specially designed to assist field officers on their path to civilian professional life. This agency has also recently chosen to integrate Jobfeed as part of their support package, granting access to real-time information and up-to-date offers from the job market to a larger number of army staff.