Today is Veterans Day, which means many of us are taking the time to truly consider the brave people who made it their mission to keep our country safe. Political affiliations and views aside, we all take this time to honor those who answered the call. Their dedication and hard work sometimes makes it easy to forget these men and women could very well be ‘unemployed’ and looking for work.
Good news: the number of unemployed vets has been steadily declining in the last few years with only 5.3% of the 21.2 million veterans looking for work. However, that means around 573,000 military veterans are still on a job search. And the unemployment rate for veterans is three times as high as the national average!
Employers should take notice of this number, because it may not be the largest we’ve experienced, but it is unfortunate nonetheless. Even more, hiring veterans is no charity case, but actually a smart business decision. Veterans are an untapped, highly motivated, skilled workforce that employers should consider more highly.
Skills and Competency are a Given
The people who are or have served our country through a branch of the military are skilled. That’s the point blank truth. No matter how they enter their enlistment, when they leave, they have worked to discover a talent or interest and use that discovery to benefit the branch they are serving. Of course, in order to ensure these individuals are on the path to success, the military gives them the training necessary to hold the position. From project management to leadership, PR to IT, the armed forces offer a wide-range of skills that can be translated into civilian jobs easily.
After being trained, they actually put that training to work in the field. Veterans are not only educated, they are experienced. While some service members work in military specific jobs, there are more than 7,000 occupations within the military and 81% of those have direct civilian equivalents. That means, chances are the military has trained an individual to have those specialized skills your company is hoping to find in its next hire.
Honorable Character is their Culture
We all know someone who has served and, at some point you probably have been exposed to their stories of boot camp and other training experiences. Structured and challenging are usually words synonymous with the tales. Military training is rigorous and those who have lived within that world have no choice, but to become strong, level-headed and quick thinking individuals. Service men and women respect developed procedures, value a hard day’s work and believe deeply in teamwork without sacrificing necessary leadership skills. No matter the industry, trade or position traits such as those will positively affect a business.
“The military operates as a team - everyone is trained to take charge when the moment arises… Your current leader could be injured and killed. In those situations, you can’t open a req and wait for it to be filled.”
-Lisa Rosser, Founder & CEO of The Value of a Veteran
Hiring the Skilled and Cultivated
It may seem like adding another step to your recruiting strategy is too much, but veterans are still job seekers. Developing a service person-centric hiring initiative is more about placement. Attending job fairs or posting to boards that have military focus is a great way to gain the attention of potential applicants. Additionally, there are many organizations and government programs whose sole purpose is to support veterans and their families through job searches and hires.
Sometimes the usual recruiting methods are all that’s need. Continue to encourage employee referrals and asking current veteran employees to give advice to your team or mentor new hires. Implementing specialized internal programs or veteran-specific collateral will help you build a reputation as a military-friendly organization.
The number of unemployed veterans has declined drastically in the last few years, but there are still some of our finest men and women who are searching for a job. Some of the most influential companies are hiring veterans and more companies should be following suit. The intangible skills employers are looking for in 2015 graduates are accounted for in military service training.
Do you have an internal initiative for hiring military veterans? How can you add more veteran-friendly initiatives into your talent acquisition strategy? Here is a list of resources to help you get started:
- Recruit Military
- Civilian Jobs
- Military Officers Association of America
- Careers for the Transitioning Military