Veterans Day 2020: Support Employment of Our Veterans
This Veterans Day, OpenInvest is honoring those who have served our country by focusing on the over 200,000 service members transitioning from the military back to civilian life on average every year. Military veterans, who make up about 8 percent of the total U.S. population, bring back with them a lot of valuable skills for the workplace. Skills such as strong work ethic, discipline, teamwork, leadership, mental toughness and resilience, and the ability to adapt and problem solve.
Despite the value that a military experience can bring to the workplace, 55% of veterans still report employment as their second-biggest military transition challenge, just behind navigating Veteran Affairs (VA) programs, veterans benefits, and services. From taking care of their physical and mental health to career and family support, veterans often face many unique challenges, including transitioning to the workforce and finding jobs, as they return to civilian life.
The difficulties many veterans face in finding employment is a result of a lot of different factors. A lot of veterans struggle with translating their military experience to a civilian role, or have no or little experience applying for roles outside of the military, or have to learn new skills to adjust to a new work environment.
The barriers can also be a result of other factors including a lack of financial resources or support, family obligations, expiration of GI Bill benefits, or health and disability. Not to mention that the path to success is not always as clear in civilian life as it is in military service. Nearly half (46%) of veterans transitioning back to civilian life said they had difficulty finding a sense of purpose, value, or meaning in post-service life.
With so many barriers to military transition, the focus during Veterans Day 2020 is on how to support our veterans during this transitionary period. While there are over 300 employment assistance centers worldwide that provide veterans affairs resources, counseling, employment assistance, and information for service members transitioning to civilian life, there are also companies putting in the work to invest in the hiring and support of our veterans.
Many service members have indicated frustration with the organizations, like these employment assistance centers, that are designed to assist in the transition to civilian employment. Given that getting a job after service is the second biggest challenge when transitioning to civilian life, there is clearly a gap in support needed for our returning veterans that some companies are trying to fill.
However, not all companies are hitting the mark when it comes to hiring and retaining veterans. Some veterans, like the ones quoted below, have indicated the challenges they face in applying for and getting hired into roles after their military service. The difficulty they face gives further reason for supporting companies that do make this process easier and more accessible.
“It [military service] provided me with my initial job skills when I transitioned to the civilian workforce. Even though companies state they have a vet preference I don’t see that during the hiring process.” - Military Veteran
“Many companies claim they are Veteran friendly, but it seems that most of the jobs offered are for low-paying entry-level positions and not compared to the level on which we separated from the military. Also, if I claim that I am a veteran but if I don’t have a specific skill they are looking for, but if I am confident I could excel at, I still get looked over.” - Military Veteran
To support our troops this Veterans Day, at OpenInvest we seek to help investors identify companies that are actively supporting veterans through this transitionary phase, focusing on areas such as recruitment, retention, and employee programs. Through our Veterans Cause, utilizing research of industry experts MilitaryFriendly and MilitaryTimes, we enable our clients to directly invest in military transition to civilian life.
Companies identified by MilitaryTimes and MilitaryFriendly have strong policies and practices related to the recruitment and retention of veterans. The companies they identify provide support for the men and women who continue to serve in the reserve components and their efforts foster a corporate culture that helps veterans grow and succeed.
With the support of our industry experts, we can accurately rate and identify companies that actively recruit and hire veterans, understand how to look for and translate military skills into civilian roles, provide a welcoming culture to our veterans, and allow for work flexibility for military families and military spouses. These companies are aware of the talents that a military background can bring to their organization and are investing in programs to recruit, retain, and grow their Veteran population.