According to the July employment situation summary from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the unemployment rate for veterans who served from September 2001 to present was 8.9 percent. While the rate has greatly decreased from 12.4 percent a year prior, it’s still several points higher than the national unemployment rate. What’s more, a BLS study released in March found that 18 to 24-year-old male veterans who served during the same period had an unemployment rate of 29.1 percent, illustrating the challenges that many veterans encounter as they transition to the civilian workforce.
CareerBuilder recently surveyed veterans to better understand the struggles they’re facing as civilian job seekers. According to the nationwide study, which was completed in June, 56 percent of the veterans who returned from service over the past two years said they are currently employed, but 46 percent think they are overqualified for their current job.
How veterans view themselves as job seekers
While serving our country, veterans gain valuable skills such as teamwork, leadership and problem-solving. These skills can be huge assets to a company, but veterans don’t always know how their experience translates to a civilian position.
To find out what qualities veterans believe they possess, all veterans surveyed were asked how strongly they agree with the following statements:
- I can think on my feet — 87 percent
- I work well on a team — 83 percent
- I have experience dealing with conflict effectively — 73 percent
- I have technology training — 65 percent
- I trust leaders/superiors — 58 percent
- I have experience working/serving in other countries — 48 percent
Helping with the military to civilian transition
When asked what has been the biggest challenge in finding work, some of the top answers respondents cited included finding a work environment in which they feel comfortable, knowing what kind of jobs to apply for, and getting people to understand how their military experience translates to civilian work.
Another challenge veterans said they face? Knowing where to begin, including how to write a résumé and where to look for a job. The good news is that there are a lot of resources available to help veterans prepare for, seek and secure employment. Here are three such resources:
1. American Freedom Foundation Inc.: The American Freedom Foundation provides grants to organizations that support veterans, including those related to employment. The foundation has a special focus on aiding wounded or disabled veterans and their families, as well as the children of those killed in action. In partnership with CareerBuilder, AFF is hosting its 2nd annual Veterans Career Hiring Event on Saturday, Nov. 10 from 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. at the Patriot Center in Fairfax, Va. The free event features major companies from around the Washington, D.C. area with employment opportunities for veterans.
2. America Wants You: America Wants You brings together the private sector and corporate America to find job opportunities for men and women who have served in the U.S. military. CareerBuilder powers the job-search engine, which is free for both veterans and companies. More than 50,000 jobs are available in a variety of fields at companies across the U.S.
3. EmployVets.com: EmployVets.com matches employers with veterans looking to return to the workforce. The website, powered by CareerBuilder, provides a variety of resources for veterans, including a job-search engine, a tool for discovering how one’s military skills translate to the civilian world and career advice.