What are Veterans Looking for in an Employer?

Recruiters from every industry are working harder than ever to secure top talent in today’s candidate-driven market. Smart employers already know that military veterans present a richly skilled talent pool that comes with built-in educational opportunities and tax incentives. But what do employers need to know to better connect with the veterans they’ve hired and want to hire? We’ve got the answers.

Whether passively or actively, veterans are looking for new opportunities

A study conducted by iCIMS, a leading provider of talent acquisition solutions, focused on post-9/11 veterans’ experience and expectations while job hunting and once they’ve landed a civilian job following their military service. In short, today’s veterans are both actively and passively job hunting. Eighty-six percent (86%) of veterans, including 82% of those employed, are currently job hunting and spend roughly ten hours a week looking for a new job.

What attracts veterans to a potential new employer?

Here’s what the survey found:

• Salary or employee benefits (67%)
• Advancement or promotion opportunities (58%)
• On-the-job training opportunities (32%)

They feel underused and undervalued in the workplace

In fact, 63% of employed post-9/11 veterans believe they use 50% or less of the job skills they learned in the military. This could be causing frustration and even boredom for veterans transitioning to civilian jobs. By gaining an understanding of the top skills veterans hold, employers can tap into this talent and ensure they are providing a challenging and rewarding career path.

They Want to Give Feedback

The study reported that 89% of post-9/11 veterans have never been asked by an employer or prospective employer for their feedback regarding its veteran hiring program. This is probably vastly different from their military experience where service members routinely provided and heard feedback in order to tweak processes and increase efficiency.

However, if asked, here’s what veterans would like to see changed or improved in the workplace:

53% More on-the-job training or certification opportunities
44% Positions with greater meaning or purpose
41% Positions more relevant to a veteran’s military experience
41% Positions equivalent to a veteran’s military seniority
34% A clear path for veteran advancement, such as promotion tracks
20% Nonveteran employees to gain a better understanding of the challenges veterans face

Easy Fixes to Build and Promote a Veteran-Friendly Brand

Building an employment brand in the military community is vital for marketing an organization as an employer of choice for veterans. And, it demands much more than adding “military friendly employer” as a tagline in marketing campaigns or job postings. These following easy fixes may resonate with veterans seeking employment:

• Highlight the veterans who work in the organization and what they have accomplished in their promotional materials, website, and marketing.
• State clearly why the company wants to recruit veterans.
• Outline how a military background is a good fit for open positions.
• The Society of Human Resources Management (SHRM) recommends revising the application process to include a simple e-mail response acknowledging that you’ve received an application.*

*This is important because many transitioning veterans may never have completed an application, and may not understand the process. A response, even if automated, may help put them at ease that the application was received.



America’s Heroes at Work: The Veteran Hiring Report