Veteran Hiring Troubles - Is the "Skills Translation" to Blame?

Veteran Hiring Troubles - Is the "Skills Translation" to Blame?

Multimedia from this Release

Veterans Make Great Employees

Monday, September 15, 2014 - 8:10am


With media attention on the Nation’s focus on supporting veterans and their next careers, it’s become even more confusing to many as to why veteran unemployment levels are not improving. New job boards are emerging, career fairs are commonplace, and hiring initiatives are broadcast from many companies, but that may not be quite enough if employers are not prepared to look at veterans with a deeper understanding of their experiences and contributions. As we’ve noted previously, “companies need someone to take the time and effort to make hiring veterans a prioritized initiative – which means bridging the gaps by increasing education.”

An example of a veteran with ample skills but struggling to find a meaningful connection is Susan Mackay. Since her honorable discharge from the the Navy seven years ago, Susan – who served 17 years as an administrative assistant to naval commanders abroad – has struggled to obtain steady work. As she told Florida Today, “I remember one time, a lady asked me if I could handle something, and I thought to myself, wow, in the military, you do that or you die. They don’t seem to appreciate the training that we have.” If an employer does not have a basic understanding of the military, how are they going to effectively evaluate a candidate and their qualifications for a given role?


Next up for discussion is the cultural disconnect that veterans face with many employers. Kowarski of Florida Today notes, “the reasons for the veteran employment woes are not entirely clear. Some human resource professionals say there often is a cultural disconnect between military veteran job seekers and civilian employers. Part of the reason seems to be that in the military tasks are centered around a group effort, or teamwork with fellow soldiers, while many higher-paying jobs require individual initiative.” Again, this is often the result of companies not taking the time to thoroughly understand veterans and ensure that the roles they take and teams they support understand them as well.  Most companies are not entirely to blame for this however, as many have not seen a large influx of returning veterans joining the workforce as we’re seeing today. Many companies have not existed when this would have happened in our nation’s past. That being said, now is the time to up their skills in this arena to make effective hiring decisions and provide a comfortable and productive team environment for veterans.


Visit our blog post to read about  the stigma of the “skills translation.”