U.S veterans finding it hard to be accepted into civilian work

Jun 30 2006 by Nic Paton Print This Article

One-in-five U.S military veterans have found it takes them six months or longer to land a job after returning to civilian life, with one-in-ten reporting it takes them more than a year, according to a new study.

The survey by recruitment website CareerBuilder.com found that unemployment among veterans in their early twenties is especially high.

But, more encouragingly for veterans, four-in-ten hiring managers said they planned to recruit U.S. veterans for their open positions in the last six months of 2006.

The U.S government estimates that approximately 250,000 service members leave active duty each year.

Yet statistics from the Bureau of Labor Statistics have shown that nearly one-in-five veterans aged 20 to 24 are unemployed, three times the national average.

The primary challenges in finding gainful employment for veterans were a lack of available jobs in their place of residence (29 per cent) and employers who did not understand how the skills acquired in the military translated to the civilian world (16 per cent).

On top of this, a lack of a college degree hampered 12 per cent, while inexperience in communicating their skills acquired in the military to employers via resumes and interviews foiled 11 per cent.

Some veterans expressed concern over employers potentially showing bias against recruiting former service members.

A total of 11 per cent said they did not identify themselves as veterans on their resumes, while 17 per cent said they did so selectively when applying to different employers.

Veterans who were able to land work were not necessarily satisfied with their jobs either.

More than a quarter reported they were actively seeking another job, while more than half said they were not actively seeking another job but would be open to taking a new position if they came across the right opportunity.

But the good news for veterans was that there are likely to be more job opportunities in the latter half of the year, said the research.

A total of 44 per cent of hiring managers said they would recruit U.S. veterans for their open positions in the last six months of 2006.

And 38 per cent said they would recruit members of the National Guard.

One-in-five hiring managers would be targeting veterans aged 20 to 25 while more than half would be targeting those aged 26 to 35.

The most popular positions hiring managers would be reaching out to veterans to fill included information technology, engineering, customer service, sales, manufacturing, computer/mathematical and education/library services.

In terms of job level, four-in-ten hiring managers were looking to hire for professional and technical level positions while one-in-ten were focused on filling director, manager and team leader positions.

A quarter of hiring managers reported difficulty in finding veterans that met their job requirements.

Hiring managers recommended that, in addition to functional skills and accomplishments, veterans needed to highlight their intangible skills when marketing themselves to employers.

What employers most wanted to see were an ability to work as part of a team, a disciplined approach to work, problem-solving skills and ability to perform under pressure, respect and integrity and leadership.