By Robyn Grable, founder, Veterans ASCEND
Job Hunt Challenges
Every company wants to find candidates who have leadership skills, a strong work ethic, problem-solving skills, and the ability to work in a team. Who do those skills define? Veterans. So why do veterans struggle to find employment after their military service? In the 2016 Veteran Hiring Report, iCIMS reported the top reasons veterans haven’t applied or accepted a job. Among them, “56 percent of veterans reported not being satisfied with the salary or benefits offered. 41 percent didn’t think they had enough training or education to do the job and 28 percent stated they were concerned about their ability to ‘sell myself’ in an interview.” The common denominator is that veterans are often unaware of and reluctant to promote their capabilities or speak to their transferable skills.
On the employer side, civilians often have difficulty understanding what veterans did in the military and how those skills and experiences can benefit a company. Hiring managers and recruiters don’t look beyond the military occupation title. While 85 percent of military occupations have a direct civilian equivalent, the other 15 percent also have transferable and highly sought-after skills. Hours, weeks, and years of training equate to skills in such areas as identifying requirements, inventory management, safety, hydraulic systems, quality control/assurance, and compliance. Even when companies recruit and hire veterans, they are failing to make the most of those veterans’ talents and experiences, which contributes to underemployment, high levels of frustration, and even boredom. By gaining an understanding of the top skills veterans hold, employers can tap into this talent and ensure they are providing a challenging and rewarding career path.
The gift that keeps on giving
With the holiday season behind us, let’s take a moment to think about the servicewomen and servicemen who did not get to be home. We appreciate their sacrifice and that of their families. What gifts can we give them as we continue into 2019? The gift of working to understand that military titles do not define the veteran. The gift of taking the time to find and hire veterans, a gift that is also for you, the employer. Employers, veterans advocates, and policymakers should recognize and act on the business case for hiring veterans. If employers want to take advantage of the best of this talent pool, they need to put in a little extra effort by connecting with veterans and finding out what they bring to the table. It will be time well spent.