Hiring veterans is not only good for business, but a smart decision when considering the skills needed to fill current positions in a tight job market. As of late, the job market has become tight due to the uptick of skills gaps in not only technical, but also soft, skills of candidates. As hiring managers and recruiters seek to find talent, veterans are awaiting employment opportunities to fill those gaps.
According to the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs (VA), the veteran population is projected to be more than 21 million in 2015. However, the Bureau of Labor Statistics recently reported that approximately 573,000 veterans are still unemployed across the United States, which suggests a large workforce of potentially untapped and skilled veterans that employers should consider.
The question I encourage employers to consider is not only if veterans can be viable candidates and of substantial benefit, but exactly how?
Here are two important reasons why hiring veterans can be beneficial to meeting the staffing needs of businesses:
Employer incentives have been initiated to hire veterans: The Veterans Opportunity to Work (VOW) to Hire Heroes Act of 2011 increased training, education, job-placement and transition assistance for veterans. This law provides significant tax credit to businesses if a new hire is an armed service veteran. The Returning Heroes Tax Credit provides companies up to $5,600 for hiring a veteran and the Wounded Warrior Tax Credit provides companies with up to $9,600 for hiring a veteran with a service-connected disability.
Attributes veterans possess after years of service include, but are not limited to: teamwork, problem-solving, trainability, credentials (background clearance), strong work ethic, structure, discipline, resilience, loyalty, technology and globalization (awareness of technical and international trends), respect for policies and procedures, proven ability to learn new skills and concepts, sensitivity and understanding of diversity, punctuality and the ability to work independently. Don’t you need/want these skills in your workplace?
According to the VA in its “Employing American Veterans: Perspectives from Businesses” report, “As the United States concludes large operations in Iraq and Afghanistan and confronts an impending and considerable military downsizing, the number of veterans on the job market will grow, exacerbating any existing challenges of employing them. Yet, veteran employment is fundamentally important to veteran wellness, not only to address veterans’ financial and material needs, but also to fulfill their need for purpose and vocation.”
These individuals have served their country; it’s our country’s turn to serve them.
Although we can never repay veterans for the sacrifices of their lives, families and time, we can show gratitude for their service by affording them extra opportunity and inclusion in consideration for employment.
Extra Employer Extra!: How to develop a military hiring plan
“More companies than ever are putting a focus on hiring military. This is great news for both industry and for veterans.
“American industry needs good people, however, if a company doesn’t plan for it, qualified veterans are often missed in the hiring process. With more companies investing time and resources into sourcing and hiring military, many managers are asking how to develop a military hiring plan. Here are seven tips:
- “Include your current military-experienced people in the conversation. They have great insight into the military community and have ‘been there.’
- “Build a team or council. Too often I hear about companies that hire a ‘military person’ to run their team and then they think they are ‘done.’ It takes a village.
- “Achieve total buy-in. All stakeholders must support the plan. A couple of managers who are not bought in can wreck a program fast. Buy-in and flexibility are key, and are important for managers in assessing transferable skills.
- “Conduct face-to-face interviews. The military has as many acronyms as your industry. Military resumes are not typically keyword focused. Don’t totally rely on the resume – assessments are best face-to-face.
- “Be timely. Military candidates are in transition with an ‘out date’ looming. If they sense a deal is going cold, they will change focus. Make careful decisions but make them. ‘Maybe’ means ‘no’ in this scenario.
- “Establish a career path. Most companies focus on leadership potential when hiring military. Most military-experienced job seekers are career-focused. Have a plan laid out for where they fit in your team long term.
- “Get on board with on-boarding. Military-experienced candidates are accustomed to getting all of the details. Make sure when they show up they are provided with explanations of benefits and organizational charts and are assigned a mentor to help them navigate the organization and focus on getting to work.”
Charlotte Works has been awarded $200,000 from the Wal-Mart Foundation as part of its $1-million Welcome Home North Carolina initiative to “support a three-year pilot to identify new ways in which the nonprofit, public and private sectors can better work together to serve veterans.” Our new NCWorks Certified Veterans Initiative is aimed at reducing unemployment among returning veterans in Mecklenburg County. Its focus will be two-fold: to ensure veterans are work-ready and to educate employers about hiring work-ready veterans and committing them to hire these candidates. Contact me at 704.274.8021 to learn more about how your company can be among the first to participate in the NCWorks Certified Veterans Initiative!
Business services representative Shemia Williams is an energetic and performance-driven professional with more than nine years of diverse experience in recruiting, talent management, operations management, career advising, and business marketing and development. Williams has held a variety of roles including operations manager at Realestate.com, recruiter with SeatonCorp, talent acquisition with Staffmark, career services advisor at Kaplan College and career coach at Charlotte Works. She also serves as a part-time skills assessment specialist in the college and career readiness department at Central Piedmont Community College (CPCC). William’s experience in business services and professional development encompasses employer relationship management, business development, professional networking, facilitating professional development workshops and planning and organizing career fairs and hiring events. She holds a bachelor of arts degree in political science from Morgan State University (Baltimore, Md.) and is certified career coach.