Veterans’ Day is approaching with its usual fanfare and patriotic support for the service and dedication of men and women in the military. What few people consider is how veterans can be supported in the nation’s workplaces.
Veterans make up 8.3 percent of the adult population of the United States, and 6.4 percent of the workforce according to the Call of Duty Endowment. That number is not insignificant. More can be done to both recruit and support veteran workers.
Because of their training, veterans typically have skills that make them well-suited for a variety of workplace environments. Veterans have opportunities for professional development that is often unavailable to civilians. In most states, local governments provide financial incentives to companies that hire veterans. The federal government also helps to cover the cost of compensating veterans in the workforce.
Why hire veterans?
Sources that range from the Kellogg Insight at Northwestern University, to Military.com, Forbes magazine and others note the employability of veterans. Because veterans are trainable, have leadership experience, are taught selflessness and can take constructive criticism, they are ready to succeed in contemporary workplace situations.
Hiring veterans often comes down to common sense. Veterans have had to learn quickly in situations not faced by civilian employees, but those skills are not just for military settings. The ability to manage diverse groups of people in terms of race, gender, geographic origin, ethnic background, and religious affiliation is important, too. Also, because they are used to working with other people with defined and applicable skills, veterans are able to do the same in the workplace. The skills veterans possess are “transferable” and “identifiable” in contemporary workplaces. This skill transfer often aids the productivity of an organization.
The work of the military makes veterans suited to accepting accountability, keeping up with technological trends, and following health and safety procedures of the workplace.
To put a face on the issue of hiring veterans, the New York Post interviewed veteran Mike Schindler, author of the book, “U.S. Veterans in the Workforce: Why the 7 Percent are America’s Greatest Asset.” Schindler asserts that “All warriors aren’t wounded and all veterans are not broken.” He further states that veterans are positive and adapt quickly. Schindler’s claims are echoed with statistics from the Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM). The organization claims that “only 10-20% of those deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan experience post-traumatic stress disorder.”
Tax credits for hiring veterans
Hiring individuals uniquely suited for a variety of professional situations who are also prepared to lead others and adapt to the use of changing technologies among other situations is among the commonsense reasons for hiring veterans. However, some employers might be interested in knowing that the government invests in veteran employees through different kinds of tax credits.
Military.com states that “The Returning Heroes Tax Credit now provides incentives of up to $5600 for hiring unemployed veterans, and the Wounded Warriors Tax Credit doubles the existing Work Opportunity Tax Credit for long-term unemployed veterans with service-connected disabilities, up to $9,600.” According to the Small Business Administration, “Small business owners can qualify for the work opportunity tax credit (WOTC) if they hire a veteran who meets certain criteria: have a service-related disability, [have been] unemployed for a specific period of time [the credit varies depending on the length of time, starting at 4 weeks], and have been receiving SNAP (food stamps).”
Veterans by the numbers, racial representation, and unemployment rate
In relation to veterans and employment, it is necessary to examine exactly how many US veterans there are, and how many of those are unemployed.
The Department of Veterans Affairs states that as of 2017, there were 20 million veterans in the United States. Of those, a little over 30 percent are representative of minority racial groups. Specifically, 23.2 percent are of African descent, and 7.4 percent are Hispanic. Thus, a workplace comprised of veterans is also at least somewhat likely to be racially diverse.
But how many veterans are unemployed? As of 2018, unemployment is relatively low for most groups of employees, according to the findings from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. That same low rate is relevant to veterans, as well. “The unemployment rate for veterans who served on active duty in the US Armed Forces at any time since [September] 2001…edged down to 4.5 percent in 2017.” However, statistics from the Veterans Employment and Training Service show an even brighter picture of veteran unemployment. “In August 2018, the veteran unemployment rate was 3.8%.”
The celebration of veterans shouldn’t stop when Veterans’ Day ends. Allowing veterans to use the skills acquired during their military service is one of the most significant ways that employers and communities can honor veterans. If you are a veteran looking for work, or an employer seeking to hire veterans, visit our Veteran-Owned partner Premier Systems Inc and help Veterans help Veterans.