HR Manager Among Best Jobs for Military Veterans

Skills honed during active duty translate well to HR work

By Dana Wilkie Mar 18, 2016
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Telecommunications giants, large Wall Street firms and big-name insurance providers are among the top companies recruiting military veterans. Veterans’ skillsets set them up for success in many business jobs, including HR manager. 

Human resources is among the top eight professions for servicemen and women transitioning to civilian work, according to a report this week from Carlsbad, Calif.-based CareerCast.com, which offers job listings and articles on job hunting and career management.

“As more organizations reach out to the veteran community, having human resources managers with firsthand expertise in the process of veteran recruitment is a must,” the report authors wrote.

Active Recruiting of Vets 

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the best industries for transitioning veterans are professional services, which accounts for 19.8 percent of all veteran employment. Business and finance account for 17.4 percent of veteran employment and the service industries account for 14.1 percent.

Each year, the Military Times tracks the businesses that tend to hire veterans. In its most recent ranking, telecommunication giants Verizon and AT&T were in the top 10, along with financial institutions Charles Schwab and JP Morgan Chase, insurance providers USAA and Humana, and defense/aerospace companies Lockheed Martin and BAE Systems. Many of these companies consider military service equal to skills certification in their hiring processes.

“Employers are actively recruiting veterans, allocating considerable resources to do so,” said Kyle Kensing, CareerCast.com’s online content editor, in an interview with SHRM Online. “Consider that USAA earmarks 30 percent of its recruiting budget to pursue veterans, Charles Schwab sets aside 10 percent and Booz Hamilton 70 percent. With these growing efforts from businesses to recruit veterans, a veteran working in an HR role has unique, firsthand experience that she or he can provide both in the recruiting process and as an assistant in workplace transition.”

Moreover, he said, “the organizational and, in many cases, leadership skills demanded of servicemen and women can translate well to HR.”

Top Professions for Vets

Other professions especially well-suited to veterans, the report found, are:

  • Financial advisor. Some fields are an attractive fit for veterans because they require direct outreach to active duty personnel. “Financial advisor is one of the most in-demand job listings in the CareerCast veterans job database, and it’s a position that allows former servicemen and women to help current and former military personnel manage their finances,” the authors wrote.
  • Information security analyst. Veterans with experience in online security will find that such skills are in high demand.
  • Interpreter/translator. Being stationed in a foreign land and able to speak the language provides excellent on-the-job training as a translator or interpreter.
  • Physical therapist. “Few careers make as much of an impact on the veteran community as physical therapist,” the authors wrote. “The [U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs] employs more than 1,500 physical therapists.”
  • Registered nurse. Nursing training received during active duty can count toward certification for registered nursing positions in some states.
  • Management consultant.
  • Network and systems administrator

The report also discussed entrepreneurship as an ideal option for former servicemen and women, although it is not included in the list of the eight top professions. Regardless, “it can be an appealing option for veterans, in part for some of the qualities cultivated in the [military],” the authors wrote. “A willingness to lead and the organizational skills that are paramount to military service are central to running a successful small business.”

The report provided the example of one veteran in particular: former U.S. Army Airborne staff sergeant Maria Bogacki of Clarksville, Tenn.

Bogacki went into medical retirement after a tour in Iraq during the second Gulf War.

“This particular demographic of veterans had one of the worst employment outlooks just five years ago,” the authors wrote. “Just 69.1 percent of women from this group were employed from 2011 through 2013.”

For Bogacki, the biggest impediment to finding a civilian job was her medical condition, which the authors did not disclose. So she started her own business—Image One USA professional cleaning services.

“To me, the 9-to-5 schedule was very difficult,” Bogacki told the authors. “As much as most private-sector [employers] would like to help veterans, you cannot just miss work two times a week.”

Dana Wilkie is an online editor/manager for SHRM.

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