U.S. Military Veterans Being Hired but Not Targeted in Recruitment

By Theresa Minton-Eversole Feb 23, 2012
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A poll addressing military employment conducted by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) showed that companies that are hiring have hired U.S. military veterans within the past 36 months. But a sluggish economy and the lack of awareness of resources for connecting with veterans appear to be major causes for not putting more soldiers to work.

A majority (64 percent) of the 359 surveyed human resource professionals who responded to the SHRM poll fielded Jan. 4-22, 2012, reported that their companies have hired U.S. military veterans within the past 36 months. This represents an 11 percentage point increase compared with 2010 results. Organizations with 100 or more employees were more likely to have hired veterans within the past 36 months compared with those with fewer than 100 workers. A majority of respondents represented companies in the finance and insurance; health care; manufacturing; and professional, scientific and technical services industries.

Only 15 percent of the organizations that respondents said have not hired veterans during the past 36 months have made a specific effort to do so.

“Organizations that have made a specific effort to recruit and hire veterans are more likely to have hired a veteran within the past 36 months,” said Evren Esen, manager of SHRM’s Survey Research Center.

Perhaps the federal tax credits made available to companies that hire U.S. military veterans also will encourage more companies to do so. Almost 70 percent of respondents said their organization is likely to (54 percent) or very likely to (15 percent) recruit unemployed veterans actively because of the tax credits being offered. Only 31 percent of respondents said it was unlikely (23 percent) or very unlikely (8 percent) that their company would recruit unemployed veterans actively because of the tax credits.

In addition, 61 percent of respondents said their companies would be likely (53 percent) or very likely (8 percent) to hire unemployed veterans with disabilities now that there is a tax credit available; 39 percent said it was unlikely (27 percent) or very unlikely (12 percent) that their company would recruit unemployed veterans actively because of the tax credits.

Candidate Sourcing Channels

Overall, only 13 percent of respondents said their organizations are very aware of effective resources for finding veteran job candidates. Not surprising, respondents representing government agencies said their organizations were most likely to be aware of available resources.

A small percentage of respondents said they are very familiar with and use the Department of Labor’s Disabled Veteran’s Outreach Program (3 percent) and/or Local Veterans’ Employment Representative (4 percent); approximately two-thirds of respondents indicated that they were not at all familiar with these program.

“More than one-third of organizations are not at all aware of effective recruiting sources for veterans,” said Esen. “This represents an opportunity to educate organizations on the best ways to recruit veterans; there are resources available.”

QUESTION: To what extent would each of the following help your organization in efforts to recruit and hire military veterans?

Would help a lot

Would help somewhat

Would help a little

Would not help at all

Assistance identifying and reaching out to qualified veterans

46%

31%

17%

6%

Information about how military skills map to civilian job-related skills

44%

34%

14%

8%

Programs to help veterans transition their military skills to the civilian workplace

40%

38%

16%

7%

Programs to help veterans transition from militaryculture to civilian workplace culture

37%

36%

19%

8%

Programs to train veterans with additional skills for the civilian workplace

33%

40%

20%

8%

Information about and support for dealing with potential challenges veterans might face, such as PTSD and other mental health issues

31%

36%

21%

12%

Information about and support for dealing with potential challenges veterans with physical disabilities might face

30%

34%

26%

12%

SHRM Poll: Military Employment, 2012.

Benefits, Challenges to Hiring Military Veterans

Of the organizations that have hired military veterans during the past 36 months, a majority of respondents noted several benefits to doing so. Among the most cited characteristics that respondents said military veterans bring to the workforce:

*Strong sense of responsibility (97 percent).

*Ability to see a task through to completion (96 percent).

In addition, 95 percent of respondents noted the importance of giving back to U.S. veterans by showing gratitude for their service.

Approximately half of the organizations that have hired a veteran in the past 36 months “strongly agreed” or “agreed” that the biggest challenges in hiring individuals with military experience are the transition from the military culture’s structure and hierarchy to the civilian workplace culture (52 percent) and translating military skills to civilian job experience (50 percent). Post-traumatic stress issues and other mental health issues (42 percent) also were reported as challenges when hiring veterans.

Theresa Minton-Eversole is an online editor/manager for SHRM.​

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