Transitioning to civilian life at JLL, backed by 20 years’ service in the Army.

Mathew Bennett was looking to trial civilian employment after two decades in the Australian Army, when a JLL role on LinkedIn answered his search.

May 13, 2024

Joining the Australian Defence Force (ADF) at age 17, the following 20 years of ADF service saw Mathew experience combat deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan, peacekeeping operations in the Solomon Islands and Timor Leste, and many other overseas and domestic activities. 

While enjoying his ADF career, an opportunity to trial civilian employment came up at the end of 2021 and Mathew took it. Now, he works at JLL as a Project Manager in Brisbane, leading approximately 15 projects for Defence’s Estate Works Program.

“JLL immediately made me feel welcome and understood my Defence background, making the transition very smooth,” says Mathew. “I put that down to the team I am in and the supportive nature within it.”

With the role requiring a specialist understanding of the Defence estate and uniformed stakeholders, Mathew’s knowledge of field training areas and live fire ranges has been significantly valuable to performing his role. 

“It was very satisfying to know that my ADF background was needed and JLL always encourages me to draw upon my service and understanding of what uniformed members need.”

Join our Talent Network

Let's stay connected. Our Talent Network is the ideal place to enhance your job search, speed up the application process or simply learn more about life at JLL.

From Soldier to Civilian

Having made the transition, Mathew says the ease in doing so is due to the transferrable project management skills between Defence and infrastructure. 

“The similarities were very apparent to me within the first six months,” he recalls. “Soldiers learn how to project manage in Defence without actually being told how – it’s just with people as opposed to infrastructure. I believe that is a key reason why veterans would find transitioning into a project manager role a simple and natural progression once out of uniform.”

The ability to deal with stress and uncertainty is something that becomes the norm in Defence but cannot be easily replicated in civilian work. That’s why Mathew’s experience from overseas operations has been a key attribute that is highly valued, both within the company and by clients. 

A work/life balance between the Army and JLL 

While Mathew loves his current work/beach life balance in Queensland, he is not ready to shut the door on armed service completely, remaining an active ADF Reservist. 

“JLL has always been supportive of my need to continue to serve in uniform. There is a huge amount of trust in allowing me to live both worlds and complete a significant number of Reservist days per year, for which I am extremely thankful for.”

He says this support from JLL is well beyond the industry standard and he is loving the benefits that come with an employer of choice. 

“I am able to do the little things like dropping my kids at school a few times a week. And with the project locations being some of the most remote, I also get to explore all of Queensland.”

Applying an Army skillset to JLL

From his time in the Army, Mathew has brought to JLL an ability to make “command decisions”. A project manager doesn’t always have all the answers so must rely on people and processes to help achieve the end goal, which means working as a team and valuing the input of diverse experiences and expertise. 

By staying focused on the final outcome, rather than getting lost in the minutiae of tasks, he is able to help the team drive a project forward to achieve success – something he is looking forward to continuing for Defence at JLL.

Looking for a career that utilises your ADF service and specialised skillset? Explore Opportunities

Interested in learning how JLL can help you achieve your career ambitions?