Why Hiring Veterans Makes Business Sense
The military has always had a prominent role in American society, especially since 9/11. Everyone knows a current or former service member, so there is a public movement to ensure these men and women receive adequate resources for their transition back into civilian life.
A comprehensive network of support services has been established for different aspects of veterans’ lives including housing, mental health, education, and employment. While all of these are important to the successful reintegration of military men and women, none is more vital than employment.
A sustainable job provides veterans and their families with the security and stability they need for peace of mind after they complete their enlistment. The benefits of veteran employment are also a two way street because they provide a vital asset to any company’s workforce and bottom line.
When focusing on the advantages of hiring former service members, it is important to look at their intangible characteristics, transferable skills, and financial incentives. It is also valuable to consider some misconceptions about the veteran community and some strategies to recruit and hire this important population.
To understand the importance of military employment, it is useful to first examine some veteran-related statistics1
- Total U.S. Veteran Population: 21,999,000 (7% of U.S. population)
- Number of Women who have served: 2,020,000 (9% of veterans)
- Post 9/11 Veterans: 2,794,947
- 250,000 Transitioning Servicemembers every year
These are the traits that are the most recognizable in veterans and service members which provide obvious benefits to any company:
- Respect for Authority
- Self Reliance
- Team Work
- Safety Conscious
- Mission Focused
- Easily Adaptable
Many hiring managers do not realize veterans bring interchangeable proficiencies to the workforce. Nearly all civilian occupations can also be found in the military including:
- Project/Program Management
- Aviation/Airfield Services
An often overlooked advantage to employing veterans is there are also monetary benefits included.
The federal government provides hiring incentives in the form of tax breaks from the Department of Labor’s Workforce Opportunity Tax Credits (WOTC). These benefits can also be significant, ranging anywhere from $2,400 to $9,600 depending on the veteran’s disability and unemployment status.
The United States Department of Veterans Affairs also provides subsidized training programs for veterans and employers. These benefits allow the company to pay a reduced rate for entry-level prior service members for On the Job Training (OJT) and Registered Apprenticeships, as well as a monthly stipend directly to veterans which can be up to $2,000 per month.
Misconceptions About Veterans
A significant barrier to veteran employment is the preconceived notion that many hiring managers have about the temperament of the population.
Mental and behavioral health issues do exist in current and former military members, and they should not be understated, but research says these challenges are statistically similar to those in the civilian population.
Company representatives also assume veterans can be more aggressive and combative because of their backgrounds. Their experience proves the opposite to be true because of the above mentioned intangible traits of leadership, teamwork, and discipline.
Locating Veteran Candidates
The biggest challenge many potential employers face is locating veterans to hire. While their benefits are numerous, the military community is often tight-knit, so it is difficult for civilians to know how to find them.
The following locations are the most effective means of outreach to this valuable population:
- Military Base Transition Offices
- The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
- State, County, and Local Government Resources
- Military and Veteran Hiring Fairs
- Local Veteran Nonprofits (VFW, American Legion, Etc.)
Tying it all Together
Hiring prior service members is beneficial to a business for many reasons, the most evident being the personal characteristics, relevant experience, and financial value. These aspects make them a worthy addition to any company, but they are not the only reasons to support this population. Because of their service and sacrifices, awarding veterans the opportunity for a stable and sustainable future is the right thing to do.