Veterans Become the Missing Link in a Tight Labor Market

August 16, 2019
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Author: Tyran Saffold Jr

The economy is going on 15 straight months where there have been more job openings than people searching for employment. People are looking for jobs, and receiving them, as the unemployment rate rests at 3.7 percent, continuing record-breaking lows. Conversely, the robust economy is drawing more people into the workforce and the characteristically high unemployment rate for veterans has been flipped onto its head. Standing firm at 3.2 percent, this marks the lowest veteran unemployment rate since 2001.

Is this change permanent?

Hiring Veterans

With the current labor market conditions, employers are searching for help in areas that they wouldn’t normally go. For example, women are moving into male-dominated work sectors at a higher clip to fill needs. In the same sense, veterans have extended a much needed helping hand to companies in need of more support. The tight labor market has given them the opportunity to show employers their value.

“Hiring people is an art, not a science, and resumes can’t tell you whether someone will fit into a company’s culture,” said Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz. When HR reps examine resumes, they look for hard skills that apply to the position and that is a barrier for veterans since they generally don’t have specific hard skills for the job.

Academic research supports a specific and compelling business case for hiring individuals with military background and experience. They boast a plethora of soft skills that will benefit company process and culture while providing a framework for what hard work should look like. Intrinsically, organizations will realize the importance of veteran leadership as these individuals embody the soft skills that will be in high demand in the near future.

Hiring veterans is good business, according to in-depth interviews with individuals representing 69 companies across the United States. As disciplined team players, they provide the ethical framework for success while maintaining a hard-working and motivated mindset.

Here are top reasons employers should consider veterans for employment:

• Leadership and teamwork skills
• Character
• Structure and discipline
• Expertise
• High performance in a dynamic environment
• Effectiveness
• Proven success
• Resiliency
• Loyalty
• Public relations value

It is noted that 70 percent of companies who actively employ veterans do so because of the leadership and teamwork skills they possess. Character and structure/discipline were second and third on the list at 49 and 41 percent, respectively.

In addition to the way that vets can improve company process, hiring veterans can also bring a monetary advantage as well. If an eligible veteran is hired, your business can take advantage of several tax incentives such as The Work Opportunity, Returning Heroes, and the Wounded Warriors Tax Credits. They can provide your company with annual incentives of up to $9,600.

At a time when machine learning and artificial intelligence is expected to replace a lot of jobs, the soft skills needed to employ new workers will become more important—a skillset that the majority of veterans already possess.