Veterans Make Good Hires Though Some Take Months To Find A Job

Nov 11, 2008
This article is part of a series called News & Trends.

As America honors its military veterans, there’s news about the difficulties some vets have finding a job. A CareerBuilder (profile; site) survey says 1-in-6 vets report spending six months job hunting after leaving the service. About 1-in-10 say it took them a year to land a job.

Of the 750 vets surveyed for the report, about 20 percent said the biggest challenge to getting hired is the difficulty employers have in understanding just how transferable military skills are. Some of the vets also said they were at a disadvantage because they lacked a college degree, good interviewing skills, or there was just a lack of appropriate jobs in their area.

However, the news isn’t as bleak as the survey might imply. Bill Scott, with military recruitment specialist Bradley-Morris (profile; site), told us, “In our view, we still see this market as strong for veterans.” The U.S. economy has slowed hiring generally, acknowledges Scott, the firm’s VP of marketing and business development. But there are “many opportunities (for veterans). There are employers who want to hire veterans.”

Bradley-Morris is a placement and staffing firm in Georgia, which itself is 60 percent staffed by former military. It also conducts job fairs, operates a veteran-focused job board and publishes a careers newspaper that is distributed on bases throughout the U.S. and elsewhere.

Veterans make great hires, says Scott, because the military emphasizes leadership training, instills a strong work ethic, places a value on teamwork and accomplishment and skills training is about as up-to-date as it gets. Plus, he adds, with passive candidates increasingly reluctant to leave secure jobs or unable to relocate because of the housing market, “This is an excellent opportunity to pursue military.”

The hottest job opportunities for veterans, says Scott, are in manufacturing and energy.

The CareerBuilder survey found employers agreeing with Scott’s list of qualities. Almost three-quarters of the employers surveyed said veterans brought a strong sense of teamwork and a disciplined approach to the workplace.

So why is it that some veterans are reporting difficulty in finding work? BMI executives believe there is a communications gap, Scott says, explaining that there are all sorts of training, placement and other free services specifically for ex-military. But, he says, “There is no one place for a vet to go to find out about all the free services.”

SimplyHired (profile; site), the vertical search job board, has added a tool specifically to make it easier for veterans to find employers looking to hire ex-military. Announcing the search tool, SimplyHired described it as a way of filtering the “results from DirectEmployers Association’s list of over 400 federal contractors and “vet-friendly” employers, who take affirmative action to employ and advance in employment veterans in accordance with Affirmative Action Programs, the Vietnam Era Veterans’ Readjustment Assistance Act (VEVRAA), and the Jobs for Veterans Act.”

The U.S. Department of Labor has also organized 120 veterans job fairs to be held in 31 states this month as part of the HireVetsFirst initiative. Find the list here.

CareerBuilder HR vice president Rosemary Haefner, commenting on the findings of the survey, said, “20 percent of employers said that they will be actively recruiting veterans over the next 12 months.

“Employers value the diverse skill set that veterans can bring to their workforce and how these workers can have a positive impact on their bottom lines.”

This article is part of a series called News & Trends.