Hiring veterans is good for business, according to a series of interviews conducted by the Center for a New American Security (CNAS) with 87 representatives from 69 companies. CNAS, which compiled their findings into a report released on Monday, found that companies articulated 11 reasons for hiring veterans, including: leadership and teamwork skills; character; structure and discipline; expertise; effectiveness; and loyalty.
However, while businesses cited many benefits from hiring veterans, they also reported challenges regarding veterans’ difficulty in translating their military experience to the civilian workplace and concerns about future deployments by National Guard members and reservists.
“Changes to government policy could alleviate some of these challenges,” write the report’s authors, Margaret C. Harrell and Nancy Berglass. “The deployment concerns warrant a change in law, while others require the participation of companies, nonprofit organizations or veterans themselves.”
And despite the general positive perception of veterans in the workplace, veterans continue to experience at least a one percentage point higher unemployment rate than their civilian counterparts, a fact explained in the report as stemming from companies’ desire to hire veterans but only being able to do so when there is a “business-related motivation.” Younger veterans, ages 18 to 24-years-old, experience even higher unemployment rates. Nearly one-in-four were out of work last month.
The report, “Employing America’s Veterans, Perspectives from Business,” besides offering a the business case for hiring veterans, also recommends several steps to increase veteran employment [PDF]:
- The Department of Defense (DoD), the Department of Labor and veterans themselves should become more adept at translating military experience into qualitative skills and characteristics for civilians employers.
- The DoD and Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) should form public-private partnerships with companies and nonprofit organizations that specialize in employment and supporting veterans.
- Congress should take steps to revise the Uniformed Serves Employment and Reemployment Rights Act rules pertaining to prolonged and repeated voluntary overseas deployments.
- DoD should create a resume bank in which service members who are leaving military service can participate.
The report’s authors conclude that while companies benefit from hiring veterans, “Veteran employment is also important to national security, as stable and supportive civilian employment enables reservists and guardsmen to serve as our nation requires.” Moreover, “Hiring veterans serves those who serve the nation. It is also plain good business.”