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Last fall the Disabled American Veterans (DAV) released the results of a survey conducted in collaboration with Monster and Military.com (a subsidiary of Monster) titled VETERANS TALENT INDEX: Insights and Analysis from Veterans, Recrutiers, and Hiring Managers. With the recent introduction of H.R. 244: HIRE Vets Act. in Congress, the topic of veteran recruiting and hiring is more important than ever before.

Here is a brief recap of the report and a few highlights important every employer should know:

  • Most veterans are willing to relocate for a job, but the cost of living is the leading factor in that decision.
  • More employers than ever have established a specific veteran recruitment, hiring and retention program in their companies.
  • Veterans say finding the job they want is no longer the biggest barrier to employment.
  • Employers want more detail on veterans resumes and feel veterans need to improve their in-person interview skills. (Author’s Note—the resume issue has been a topic of discussion for many years. There has not been as much said or written about their interview skills. I believe it is important for those of you who participate in career fairs to do informational or mock interviews with veteran job seekers and offer a critique.)

Career Confidence Index

During the past five years the Career Confidence Index in the survey has shown a solid score of 52 to 58 (out of a total of 100). The 2016 survey showed a confidence level of 57 and in 2015 was 58. This survey consists of responses from post-9/11 veterans and shows that just a little more than half of these veterans are confident of obtaining a job.

About two in three (67%) male veterans were “very” or “extremely” confident in succeeding in a job compared to 61% of female veterans feeling the same way.

Veteran Job Search Activity Index

The Veteran Job Search Activity index measures the veteran’s job search activity (0-100); the current survey shows this to be at 78. Female veteran job search activity is up from 72 in 2015 to 83 in 2016. Male veterans in 2016 was 77. There is no reason given for this increase, but some possible reasons could include graduation from college, economic condition has changed, and an increase of female veterans leaving the military.

In 2015 veterans looking for a job “that matches what I want” was at 46%, but decreased to 33% in 2016. Again, no reason is provided for this trend. Could it be possible that some veterans have lowered their expectations because they are unable to find such a job? Or because they have not been successful in finding “what they want”? Veterans like non-veterans may take a job out of economic necessity and thus forego their “dream” job. This could contribute to the underemployment phenomenon we hear about.

More than half of veterans (53%) seek employers who are “veteran friendly”. This includes wanting to know if other veterans are working for the company (53%), if the company has a veteran mentoring group (45%), and whether or not there is a “veteran affinity/support groups” (45%).

The survey reported that “43% of employers…indicated they had a veteran specific mentoring program in place…” The survey two years ago reported only 17% of employers had such a program. The survey also revealed that in 2016 31% of employers did not have a specific retention program in place, down from a 2014 report of 68%.

Employer Hiring Index

The Employer Hiring Index is also on a scale of 0-100 and measures “1) employers level of hiring veterans; 2) employer views on veterans’ job performance compared to non veterans; and 3) employer motivation to hire veterans.”

Sixty-eight percent of the employers are positive about hiring veterans and remain motivated to hiring veterans. This is down slightly from the past five year average of 71%.

Military experiences relevant to civilian careers was reported by 87% of the employers as being important. (Author’s Note—This raises a question in my mind about employer comments over the years that employers are sometimes confused about the military skill sets being transferable to the civilian careers. I don’t know how the question was asked, but this 87% could be respondents who have some experience with veterans already employed and not new applicants.)

Surprising to me is 76% of employers believe that “companies should provide preferential job opportunities to those with prior military experience.” Only 59% believed that in 2011.

The survey revealed that employers are looking for veterans to perform many roles and not just the position for which they have been hired.

It has often been said that veterans make good employees. More than half (54%) of employers said veterans “perform their job ‘much better’ compared to non-veterans in their organization.”

Employers were also asked “what would help veterans convey their experience more effectively”:

  • 56% reported more details are needed on their resumes
  • 48% military skills translation to civilian skills needed more clarification
  • 44% reported the veteran needed to improve communication skills during an interview

Most of us who have been advocating veterans’ employment have talked about “soft skills” attained in military service. According to the survey employers are now recognizing this and place a “great deal of importance on soft skills.”

Employers identified four top soft skills as:

  • 49% –  communication skills
  • 43% – attention to detail
  • 43% – self discipline
  • 41% – confidence

What is your company’s experience?


Drach Consulting, LLC is a service disabled veteran owned firm that was established after a successful career that includes 28 years with the Disabled American Veterans (DAV) and more than 8 years with the U.S. Department of Labor’s Veterans’ Employment and Training Service (VETS). Ron Drach, President of Drach Consulting, LLC, has nearly 50 years experience working on veteran’s issues including employment, affirmative action, vocational rehabilitation, homelessness, transitioning service members, and disability issues. Ron can be reached at consultrwd@yahoo.com or 240-413-3183.