Veteran employment is on the rise, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ 2018 annual Employment Situation of Veterans, which shows the jobless rate for all veterans continued its downward trend from 4.3 percent to 3.8 percent from 2016 to 2018.
There is no doubt that a robust U.S. economy with record unemployment levels has helped these numbers. After all, CEOs have consistently told Chief Executive that one of their biggest challenges in 2018 has been a shortage of talent. But the increasing number of veterans joining the workforce is also an encouraging sign that companies are embracing the range of skills, attitudes and behaviors military training can bring to the corporate world.
Against this backdrop, Chief Executive Group and Indiana Economic Development Corporation teamed up in August 2018 to ask nearly 300 U.S. CEOs to share their experiences with recruiting and onboarding military veterans. Our research has found that despite the current candidate-driven market, veterans are commonly overlooked as a talent pool because employers do not know how to engage with them.
Wes Wood, director of INvets at Conexus Indiana, says that most employers wait for veterans to approach them, and that’s why so many CEOs are disappointed with the low turnout, particularly if they are not near military installations. In his experience, most companies have opportunities veterans would thrive in, but a barrier exists when it comes to job recruitment strategies. “The traditional job recruitment post is simply not resonating with veterans,” he says.
In reality, transitioning service members don’t always know what their post-military career will or should look like, and a military background isn’t always easy to translate into the typical civilian career progression curve. While the military has many career paths that directly translate to civilian counterparts, the primary soft skills of leadership, teamwork and problem-solving are the most common.
Steps must, therefore, be taken to pitch an opportunity with the veteran demographic in mind. Some employers accomplish this with personnel dedicated to conversing with veterans while others create digital methods of getting the word out. In the end, during a period of military transition, a small amount of individual attention goes a very long way.
Read our full report to see how other employers fare in their military recruitment practices and what you can do to support service members in their transition… and gain a competitive edge in the process.