Who is a veteran? Title 38 of the U.S. Code § 101 defines a veteran as “a person who served in the active military, naval, or air service, and who was discharged or released therefrom under conditions other than dishonorable.
” Military veterans have numerous problems gaining and maintaining jobs in the United States, and their unemployment rates are consistently higher than non-veterans (Bureau of Labor Statistics 2013).The types of challenges companies face while during the hiring process is skills translation (military to civilian), branding and name recognition, and meeting the education and experience requirements. Reports indicate that organizations are not always using the many talents and skills that veterans bring to the workforce and these individuals may have fewer opportunities to enjoy a satisfying work life than non-veterans.
While others argue hiring veterans brings no extra benefits to a business, which means veterans are not a priority when hiring, I argue that the skills a veteran has will often get lost in translation because veterans are hardworking and disciplined, have often had roles of leadership in their military experience, and employers have incentive to hire veterans because of government money.Opposing SideHiring decisions about veterans are influenced by the categorizations, stereotypes, stigmas, and job expectancies associated with one’s veteran status. Stereotypes are often defined as a widely held but fixed and oversimplified image or idea of a particular type of person or thing. For instance, veterans are usually stereotyped as mentally ill (e.g. depressed, having post traumatic stress disorder PTSD, bitter, withdrawn, rigid, angry, and lacking skills needed for private sector jobs etc.
) Similar to a stereotype, stigmas are defined as a mark of disgrace associated with a particular circumstance, quality, or person. As a result, stereotypes can be stigmas when they are extremely discrediting for the person. For example, some reports indicate that post 9/11 veterans are perceived as ticking time bombs ready to explode with anger at any moment (Harrell and Berglass). This inference may be a stigma because it severely damages the individual’s identity and reputation.Many of the stereotypes about veterans are very inconsistent. For example, on the one hand they are often viewed as rigid, bitter, angry, withdrawn, and mentally ill.
However, they are also perceived to be disciplined, with good leadership and teamwork skills. Although research on inconsistent stereotypes does not clearly indicate how observers process positive and negative information, stigmatizing information (i.e. veteran is mentally ill) is likely to have a greater impact on hiring decisions than stereotypically positive information (i.e. person is disciplined, or a good leader) because selection processes are often a search for negative information.Supporting ResearchVeterans are highly skilled and have all the attributes to get a job done.
They are a force to be reckoned with. No matter the goal or target, they aim to achieve. Most veterans will have experience working in and leading teams (Hall 7). This means many know how to build a community with their coworkers to strengthen bonds and lead more effectively. Having a community of coworkers will also breed integrity and loyalty, other important aspects to a cohesive work environment.
This will in turn lead to a better work ethic and more dependability and commitment to the business. Other skills veterans bring to the table are flexibility and adaptability (Collins 47). They are used to working in fast-paced, changing environments and are always prepared to handle any situation that may arise while still achieving the main goal.
Roughly one-third of the companies interviewed have education or experience requirements for positions in their company that make it difficult to hire a veteran (Hall 15). Additionally, companies will sometimes have degree requirements. Companies generally hire recent college graduates for entry level positions, but many veterans with college degrees will not want to take an entry level job with a lower salary, and the veterans without degrees do not even meet the requirements for the position. Understanding the perspectives of business leaders can help policy makers and businesses to further enhance the business case for hiring veterans and also inform federal efforts to increase veteran employment. The most frequently reported challenge to veteran employment is the translation of military skills to the civilian workplace.So which veterans are hired? Companies will hire from all branches and ranks of the military, generally dictated by the requirements for education, skills and salary levels, just like the civilian hires. There has not been bias toward any particular rank or level of military experience (Hall 9).
Leadership and teamwork skills were the most commonly cited reasons for hiring veterans according to Harrell and Burglass (15). Military service members have shown that they can work in a hierarchical team-based organization as leaders, followers and team members. They have experience working in task-oriented teams that have required them to design work plans that capitalize on the strengths of team members, accommodate team member weaknesses and adjust as team members are added or lost. These skill sets are highly prized by companies.Numerous initiatives seek to increase veteran employment.
These include government efforts to incentivize and facilitate veteran employment, many nonprofit efforts to provide services and guidance, collaborative efforts among companies and efforts within individual companies to hire veterans and support veteran employees.Personal StakeI, myself, have never been a service member of any branch, but my entire life has revolved around the military since I was born. I have always had more rules and regulations to follow than any other kid my age, unless they too were a military brat. I went to seven different schools growing up. I have been on too many airplanes to count. I have left behind too many best friends forever.
I have travelled to places most people will only dream of going to.This has only recently changed for me when I began my college career at West Virginia University in the fall of 2016. I finally have a place to settle down, at least for the next three years. Being a dependant of the military has allowed me to have a different insight on the world than most college kids.
The military has molded me a completely new mindset. If the military has changed me, it has definitely changed its service members.My father has been in the Air Force for twenty seven years (Warner). He has one more assignment before he must retire, as members of all branches can only serve a maximum of thirty years. There have been moments where I could not talk to my own dad for months at a time and when we could talk it was a short, long distance call. My dad has had jobs in war zones and he always has a chance of getting sent back.
For the last few years, he has been planning his retirement despite the fact he will not retire for another three years as of 2017. While still serving our country, he has gone back to college several times. My dad already has his undergraduate in electrical engineering, which led to his career as a civil engineer in the Air Force. So why go back to school? For more job opportunities. No matter how qualified he is, he will be faced with questions and stigmas and stereotypes.
Many employers will not understand or have the experience of working with a veteran and they will not know what to do with him.ConclusionIt is important to consider how the concept of transitioning between the military and civilian worlds may change in the future. A transition for which service members begin planning at the end of their military careers may become a thing of the past.
The future of the military appears to be trending toward more fluidity between the military and the civilian workforce, in order to leverage skills from both sectors in a more cohesive and collaborative manner (Batka 12).Innovative ideas, such as fellowships in private-sector companies for active-duty service members or the lateral entry of civilians with specialized skills into the military, have been raised in stakeholder circles and are beginning to be implemented on a small scale (Batka 12). Additionally, this has made easier transitions between the active and reserve components, providing service members with more flexibility in their military careers and access to civilian employment opportunities while preserving their military training.Finally, service members are increasingly encouraged to begin planning for their transition to the civilian workforce earlier in their military careers, even at entry.
Efforts to improve civilian employment opportunities for veterans have made great strides in recent years. The next phase of veteran employment research will fill current knowledge gaps, identify new approaches to effectively support transitioning service members and veterans, and provide the data for transitioning service members, veterans, employers, and policymakers to make informed decisions and optimize employment outcomes (Batka 12).