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Survey Looks at Recruiting, Hiring of Veterans

By SHRM Online Staff  6/29/2010
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HR’s familiarity with the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) has improved slightly since 2003, according to a survey of Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) members. USERRA is a federal law stipulating that employers must provide leaves of absence to, and re-employ upon return, workers who enter military service while employed.

Familiarity with the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR) has stayed about the same. ESGR is the primary support group in the Department of Defense that provides employers with information and resources about USERRA.

However, a vast majority of HR professionals surveyed are not familiar with two U.S. Department of Labor veterans programs—the Local Veterans’ Employment Representatives (LVER) and the Disabled Veterans Outreach Program (DVOP). Seventy percent were not at all familiar with DVOP, and 68 percent were not at all familiar with LVER.

Those are among the findings from an online survey conducted by SHRM June 8-18, 2010. Results were released in late June 2010.

According to the survey results:

  • 52 percent of HR professionals were somewhat familiar with USERRA in 2010 vs. 46 percent in 2003. Only 9 percent in 2010 and 8 percent in 2003 were extremely familiar with it.

  • 25 percent in 2010 were somewhat familiar with ESGR vs. 21 percent in 2003; 4 percent in 2010 and 6 percent in 2003 were extremely familiar with it.

  • 53 percent said their organization had hired veterans in the previous 36 months as full-time, part-time or temporary/contract workers.

  • 50 percent of organizations that hired vets made a specific effort to recruit and hire them; 11 percent that have not hired vets made a specific effort to recruit and hire them.

Two national online job boards for recruiting veterans—MilitaryHire and HireVetsFirst—scored highest (38 percent and 40 percent, respectively) in effectiveness in helping organizations recruit veterans as potential job candidates. The two job boards were among a list that included Monster, CareerBuilder, CareerOneStop, HotJobs and Vault.

Veterans’ strong sense of responsibility and ability to work under pressure are the primary benefits of hiring employees with military experience, HR professionals said—regardless of whether their organizations have hired veterans, have made an effort to hire veterans or have not made an effort to do so.

However, translating military skills to civilian job experience is still the major challenge of hiring veterans, 60 percent said.

The survey also examined pay and benefits that organizations provide to employees who have been mobilized to serve on active-duty service for more than two weeks. Providing an extension of health insurance for the veteran’s family remains the top non-direct compensation support that employers provide.

Providing employee assistance programs to help veterans transition into the civilian workforce was the main assistance their organization offers or plans to offer beyond what is required by law, most HR professionals said. That is followed by providing training to help veterans improve their skills for the transition to the workforce.

As in 2004, 2006 and 2008, uncertainty as to how long the active-duty employee will be gone is the top challenge organizations face in 2010. In 2010, a higher percentage of HR professionals than in previous years also cited the recruitment and cost of using temporary workers to fill those open positions, a loss of productivity because of open positions and finding comparable jobs for returning veterans as challenges.

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