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Attracting Veterans to Your Workplace

The current unemployment rate is returning to pre-pandemic levels, but many jobs continue to be left vacant as retiring Baby Boomers and a declining population rate have reduced the number of people available to work. In 2021, 18.5 million men and women were veterans, accounting for about 7 percent of the civilian population age 18 and over, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Many veterans have the skills needed to help address talent shortages, but 55 percent of veterans report employment as a top transition challenge. Additionally, veteran unemployment rates vary widely across the country. In 2021, the unemployment rate of veterans ranged from 1.6 percent in Kentucky to 7.6 percent in Washington. Given the current labor market, companies cannot afford to continue to overlook this group of unemployed or underemployed candidates.


Once hired, veterans are rated as strong performers. About 59% of employers reported that veterans perform "better than" or "much better than" their non-veteran peers, with 37.5% saying they perform "about the same" as their non-veteran peers. Source: Challenges on the Home Front: Underemployment Hits Veterans Hard

More veterans have higher education credentials than non-veterans, but many have only a high school diploma.

Military experience translates directly to leadership and work ethic in civilian roles. Roughly one-fifth of employers ranked "experience" as one of their top factors for the attractiveness of veteran hires, followed closely by "perseverance and/or work ethic." Approximately one-sixth of employers ranked leadership or relevant skills as one of their top 3 factors for new hires. Source: LinkedIn

Employers can tap into corporate tax benefits. The Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC) is a federal tax credit available to employers for hiring individuals from certain target groups that have consistently faced significant barriers to employment. Employers can earn up to $10,000 in federal and state tax credits. For each veteran hired, the federal government gives from $2,400 to $9,600 for the first year of employment. 

Sources for Locating Job-Seeking Veterans 

SHRM HireVets
​Provides a nationwide database of over 200,000 veterans that grows by the thousands every month. Upload your job openings and get immediate results on the top qualified candidates. Use the Military Jobs Translator to translate the military lingo of veteran service jobs into terminology you can understand. 
Hiring Our Heroes
​Hosts a variety of programs and events for transitioning service members, veterans and military spouses. Employers can connect with veteran and military spouse candidates at in-person hiring events on military installations across the globe and in cities throughout the nation.
U.S. DOL HireVets
​U.S. DOL HireVets offers two choices. The first is to have the National Labor Exchange acquire your jobs directly from your corporate website and provide a daily feed to at no cost. The second is to register and post your jobs with your State Job Bank, which will automatically post the jobs with
Allows employers to post job openings to reach the right veteran audience and access resources to hire and support veteran employees.
​Offers a suite of tools with which to search, segment and connect with millions of veterans. In addition, military talent branding experts offer advice for employers to make the most of LinkedIn’s talent acquisition and outreach tools.
Veterans Job Mission
​Offers resources for employers, including best practices for hiring veterans as well as a list of sourcing tools.
Getting Hired
Dedicated to helping individuals and veterans with disabilities connect with inclusive employers. Benefits of becoming an employer partner with Getting Hired include job board access, sourcing tools, employer branding, marketing campaigns and disability etiquette training. 
​ ​State Veterans Affairs Offices

Veterans are
15.6% more likely
than non-veteran job seekers
to be underemployed.

Source: Challenges on the Home Front: Underemployment Hits Veterans Hard.

Common Challenges

Speaking a different language. The way the military describes a job varies in key ways from how the same job is discussed in the civilian world. The Army and Marines use a code, Military Occupational Specialty (MOS), to differentiate skills and job titles. Veterans or HR professionals must be able to translate this code on resumes and job listings so that everyone is speaking the same language. Employers can utilize SHRM's HireVets Military Jobs Translator to translate the military lingo of veteran service jobs into shared terminology.

Higher turnover for first civilian job after service. Less than half of veterans remained at their first post-separation job after two years. That said, 57% of veterans stayed over two and a half years in subsequent jobs (compared to just 42.5% of non-veterans). Source: Challenges on the Home Front: Underemployment Hits Veterans Hard

See also The Recruitment, Hiring, Retention & Engagement of Military Veterans

Culture and skills gap. Though the military prepares its workforce with valuable skills such as leadership and dedication, many skills do not translate as easily to the civilian world. Corporate bootcamps can provide intensive training to help former service members hone their business skill set—everything from presentation skills to data analysis.

Case Study: Prudential's Veterans' Program Focuses on Building Careers

SHRM Resources

SHRM offers a digital toolkit that provides information that will better equip HR professionals and employers in hiring, onboarding and retaining former service members.

The Veterans at Work Certificate Program is a SHRM Foundation education program for HR professionals that focuses on best practices to attract, hire and retain veterans.

According to a survey of veterans from Monster and, 55% of respondents felt that recruiters and HR professionals didn't understand their experience and 63% were disappointed in the support they got in their job search. Employers can use SHRM's HireVets Military Jobs Translator to translate the military lingo of veteran service jobs into terminology HR and hiring managers can understand.

Lead the movement by joining SHRM's ambassador program. Veterans ambassadors train others in best practices to attract, hire and retain veterans and military spouses.

From We Will to at Will: A Handbook for Veteran Hiring, Transitioning, and Thriving in the Workplace.



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