Employers Unsure How To Capitalize on Veterans

By Kathy Gurchiek Nov 9, 2007

Nearly two-thirds of hiring managers and recruiters look favorably on hiring veterans, but as many don’t completely understand what qualifications ex-service members can bring to the workplace, a new survey shows.

“The U.S. military is one of the world’s largest training organizations, spending $17 billion annually to provide education relevant to industries with significant employment demands, such as health care, engineering and [information technology],” Military.com vice president Tom Aiello said in a press release.

“However, because their resumes and experiences differ from traditional candidates’, it can be challenging for hiring managers to immediately appreciate the value they bring,” he added.

Among findings from a Military.com online survey, conducted in August and September 2007 with 4,442 military veterans and 287 recruiters and hiring managers:

  • 64 percent of employers think vets need more assistance to transition successfully into the civilian market; 27 percent said they need stronger interviewing skills.
  • 53 percent of employers spend 2 percent or less of their recruitment advertising budget on military hiring.
  • 61 percent of employers don’t completely understand the qualifications of ex-service members as they relate to the employer.
  • 36 percent are unaware they must provide a returning vet the same or equivalent job under the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994.

That uncertainty cuts both ways—76 percent of vets often are stymied at how to translate their military skills to civilian ones, according to the survey.

Seventy-two percent feel unprepared to negotiate salary and benefits, 81 percent don’t feel fully prepared to enter the civilian workforce, and more than half (57 percent) are unsure of how to network successfully.

“The disconnect between transitioning military personnel and interested employers can be easily resolved,” says Aiello, pointing out the many online resources that are available.

Those resources include publications, private-sector services and government initiatives such as the U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) HireVetsFirst campaign.

That campaign includes a web site that provides tools such as a skills translator that veterans and employers can use.

USA Today reported in February 2007 that there has been “a proliferation of job fairs, publications and web sites seeking to link companies and veterans,” and that the DOL sponsored 17 job fairs in 2006 as part of HireVetsFirst.

Kathy Gurchiek is associate editor for HR News. She can be reached at kgurchiek@shrm.org

Related Articles:

Federal and State Officials Offer Tips for Hiring Returning Veterans, SHRM Online Workplace Law Focus Area, Aug. 8, 2007

Illinois: State Institutes Tax Credit for Hiring Veterans, SHRM Online Workplace Law Focus Area, March 23, 2007

Government Expands Nationwide Campaign To Hire Veterans, SHRM Online Staffing Management Focus Area, March 20, 2007

Employers urged to help workers adjust to life after combat, HR News, Dec. 7, 2006

For the latest HR-related business and government news, go daily to www.shrm.org/hrnews


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