5 Benefits of Hiring Veterans & How to Get Started
When U.S. veterans end their time in military service, they often return to their hometowns in search of a job. Unfortunately, it’s common for them to face challenges finding opportunities as they adjust to civilian life – according to the Department of Labor, the veteran unemployment rate sits at 3.9%.
However, two federal laws provide protection against hiring-related discrimination for veterans with disabilities: the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) and Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Also, under the Veterans Employment Opportunity Act, veterans must receive preference over non-veterans when applying for federal positions.
Despite these protections, veterans may encounter employment hurdles, like misconceptions about their physical and mental conditions, as they transition into the civilian workforce. Nevertheless, veterans bring distinctive qualities that make them excellent job candidates. Let’s look at the top five benefits of hiring veterans.
1. Veterans Possess Unique Skillsets
Veterans bring a unique kind of work experience, developed in the most high-pressure situations. For example, military personnel often reach leadership roles through intense training. There, they rely on teamwork and communication skills, and solve problems with impressive speed and clarity. Veterans also learn to thrive in goal-oriented settings and understand the value of a strong work ethic.
Although they are trained to take orders, veterans are self-motivated and able to contribute as part of a team. There’s no doubt that these soft skills translate well to any workplace environment.
2. Veterans Can Fill a Wide Variety of Roles
Veterans have developed the type of work ethic that makes them an ideal fit for many professions after returning to civilian life. Many veterans go onto careers in information technology, thanks to their experience working with the latest tech during their time in the service. Veterans with backgrounds in mathematics and finance can use their skills as financial advisors and even work directly with military families. Other popular fields for veterans include healthcare, sales, management consulting, and trades (such as construction).
3. Veterans Are Continuously Learning
Following the completion of military service, veterans receive financial assistance from the government for pursuing higher education. Hiring veterans enables companies to add team members who are focused on continuous improvement and education — which can lead to long-term careers.
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4. Veterans Foster Your DEI Initiatives
If your company has a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) initiative, it should include veterans. When you hire veterans, you’re expanding the company’s diversity of backgrounds, experiences, and perspectives.
5. Veteran Hiring Enables Employer Incentives
Did you know that there are employer incentives for hiring veterans? If you hire veterans, your company may be eligible for the Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC), which is available for certain protected groups that face a higher risk of unemployment, including veterans. Employers can earn a tax credit equal to 25% or 40% of a new employee’s first-year wages, up to the maximum for the target group to which the employee belongs. (Check out Military.com for more details on employer incentives for hiring veterans.)
How to Start Veteran Hiring Programs
Now that you’ve seen the benefits of hiring veterans, you’re ready to start tapping into this valuable pool of potential candidates. Here are a few ways to attract former service members as you start your own veteran hiring program:
Reach out and meet with local veteran organizations to discover how you can get the word out about your job openings.
Attend military job fairs and hiring events.
Ask veterans on your staff to provide feedback on your recruiting process – how can you help other veterans feel more supported during interviewing, onboarding, and beyond?
Tap employees who have served to mentor veteran new hires.
Offer veteran hires professional development opportunities, including on-the-job training and resources for seamlessly acclimating to the civilian workforce.
Spotlight soft skills in job descriptions and include veterans in your EOE statement.
Highlight veteran hiring programs in your recruitment marketing efforts, including your careers page.
Veterans are valuable assets to any organization. When given the proper support and training, those who have served have the potential to build long-term careers. For more tips and resources, download the Department of Labor’s Employer Guide to Hiring Veterans.