America spent November 11th honoring our veterans with much deserved parades, concerts and speeches. There are simply not enough words to show our gratitude for the sacrifices these brave men and women have made for our country. Yet, many returning home after long and dangerous tours of duty are struggling to find jobs and to make ends meet.
The unemployment rate for veterans is 37% higher than the rate for the country as a whole. This means that after the parades are over, many of our veterans will be turning their attention back to a frustrating job search.
This high unemployment rate does not necessarily reflect an unwillingness of employers to hire veterans. Instead, it may indicate a problem connecting job-seeking service men and women with companies looking to hire.
Many people join the armed forces right out of high school or college, negating the need to prepare for a job search, write resumes and complete applications. It can be difficult to try to translate military jobs and experience into terms employers understand. Plus, some recruiters have misconceptions about the kind of skills veterans will have. They might imagine all service is combat, when in fact the military trains clerks, reporters, administrators, technicians, mechanics… the list is endless. Most positions that exist in the civilian world exist in the military. Organizations like Hire Heroes USA are helping veterans with the daunting task of communicating their service experience in terms civilian employers understand.
As the problem of veteran unemployment is becoming more widely known, some U.S. companies are stepping up their veteran recruitment efforts. Starbucks and AT&T have committed to hiring 10,000 veterans and military spouses over the next five years. Walmart has pledged to hire 100,000 veterans over the next five years. Pepsico has shown an ongoing commitment to hiring vets; of Fortune 50 companies, it has the highest percentage of veterans recruited from applicants received.
Why seek out and hire veterans? Because they make great employees!
That should be reason enough, but if you need more, how about a tax incentive? According to Hire Heroes.org: “The VOW to Hire Heroes Act of 2011, enacted November 21, 2011, provides an expanded Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC) to businesses that hire eligible unemployed veterans and for the first time also makes the credit available to certain tax-exempt organizations.”
Want to recruit a veteran? Here are some tips: