While the unemployment rate among veterans declined to 2.8% in 2022, vets often remain underrepresented in the country’s labor force. The transition from the military to the private sector is undeniably a rough one. Equally undeniable, however,  is the value that veterans immediately bring to the workforce: leadership, empathy, dedication, and resilience. So where’s the gap?

Veteran Employment is a Struggle

A major roadblock for many veterans seeking employment is translating their military tenure into equivalent civilian work experience and skills. When employers are unclear about the value a candidate brings, it’s easy to pass them over. That’s why it’s necessary for employers to craft bias-free, clear job descriptions that communicate the required skills.

Another issue is that veterans are often stereotyped by civilian employers. According to a survey by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), 46% of HR professionals indicated that post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and other mental health issues pose major barriers when considering veterans for employment. A much more recent study suggests that 16–34% of veterans’ social media accounts include cues related to PTSD – making them easy targets for biased hiring practices.

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, Anyone?

The truth is, veterans offer employers a great opportunity to diversify and strengthen their workforce. A talent pool of veterans provides a ready-made mix of employees from varied backgrounds. For example, the US military comprises 43% people of color – slightly higher than the 37% people of color in the rest of the US workforce. In fact, according to the Department of Veterans Affairs, the share of minority veterans groups will shoot up from 23.2% of the veteran population in 2017 to 32.8% by 2037.

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The Benefits of a Diverse Workforce are Unquestionable  

And if you needed a nudge to considering why diversifying your workforce makes sense, here are a few reasons:

  1. More innovation: Teams that include individuals with varying skill sets, experiences, and cultural backgrounds encourage fresh perspectives and ideas. This gives leaders the opportunity to leverage different strengths and create higher-performing teams. In fact, a Harvard study found that “higher cognitive diversity leads to greater performance and faster learning — all factors that can spark creativity and innovation.”
  2. Easier talent acquisition and retention: Companies with diverse workforces find it simpler to recruit and retain talent, as younger generations are drawn to companies that foster diversity, equity, and inclusion at the workplace. In fact, this is a top factor when millennials are considering employment with a company. Thus, inculcating a diverse workplace culture can make employers more appealing to existing as well as potential hires.
  3. Higher employee engagement: When employees feel accepted and welcome regardless of their backgrounds, they become more involved in working toward achieving goals and driving company growth. And, besides driving higher retention rates, better talent pools, and improved brand image, fostering an inclusive environment can help accelerate overall employee satisfaction, leading to significantly better business outcomes.

The Bottom Line

Veterans have developed highly valuable skill sets during their military service that are normally very difficult to find in the general talent pool. Their above-average levels of leadership, grit, understanding, and commitment are skills that any employer worth their salt should try to snap up immediately, as they are hard to come by. In other words, hiring veterans can help businesses boost productivity and contribute to stellar workplace culture.

Leveraging intelligent automation to find the right talent at the right place, price, and time goes a long way toward making recruiters’ lives easier. To get a headstart on the right path, request a demo with us today! Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn for more insightful tips on how to attract and retain the best talent.