Veterans struggling in civilian life

Nov 06 2007 by Nic Paton Print This Article

They've been bombed, shelled, abused and shot at Ė but for American servicemen and women returning from Afghanistan and Iraq, making the transition into civilian employment can be as much of a challenge - and employers are not doing enough to help them.

A study by the website, part of the Monster recruitment network, has found more than eight out of 10 former soldiers, sailors and air force personnel feel unprepared when it comes to getting back into the jobs' market.

With Veterans Day coming up this weekend, the poll sampled 287 recruiters and hiring managers and 4,442 former veterans.

More than three quarters of the veterans found it hard to translate their military skills into something valuable on a civilian resume or in an interview situation.

And more than seven out of 10 were at a loss when it came to negotiating salary and benefits.

More than half admitted to being unsure how to network professionally.

The good news is that six out of 10 hiring managers and recruiters say they are keen to hire veterans.

But the bad news is that many say they also find it difficult to tap into this talent pool, with more than half of employers spending just two per cent or less of their recruitment advertising budget on targeted military hiring.

A similar six out of 10 admitted to not having a complete understanding of the qualifications ex-service members offered.

And nearly two thirds felt veterans needed extra help in making a successful transition into the civilian job-seeking market.

More than a quarter said the biggest need was for stronger interviewing skills.

"The U.S. military is one of the world' s largest training organisations, spending $17 billion annually to provide education relevant to industries with significant employment demands, such as healthcare, engineering, and IT," said Tom Aiello, vice president for

"However, because their resumes and experiences differ from traditional candidates, it can be challenging for hiring managers to immediately appreciate the value they bring," he added.

Many employers were also unaware about their legal obligations concerning employees who are reservists or members of the National Guard, the survey found.

More than a third were unaware they had to provide a returning veteran with the same job or an equivalent position.

Additionally, more than half reported they would not know how to handle service members' medical insurance benefits.