Tapping Hidden Talent Pools: How to Hire Women Veterans into Great Careers

Tapping Hidden Talent Pools: How to Hire Women Veterans into Great Careers

Wednesday, July 2, 2014 - 2:05pm


By Rachel Book, Associate Director- Global Talent Attraction & Diversity

Many people think that most veterans are male, and although that’s still true, times are changing. Many more women have stepped up to serve after 9/11, bringing female representation to 15 percent of today’s active duty military and 18 percent of National Guard and Reserve forces. Nearly 2.3 million women constitute 20 percent of post-9/11 veterans and 10 percent of all living veterans.

Interestingly enough, it’s mostly men who consider themselves veterans. Overwhelmingly, women who served don’t self-identify as veterans either because they don’t connect with the societal definition of the term or because they’re worried about the potential negative impact on their careers. Only 6 percent of VA patients are women, which means that many are likely missing out on important health benefits and career resources available to them.

According to U.S. Census data, while women comprise 10 percent of veterans, they comprise 13 percent of veterans in today’s civilian workforce. Clearly, women veterans are succeeding in civilian careers despite the fact that they still face higher unemployment than male veterans and female non-veterans. Like their male counterparts, women veterans bring an incredible wealth of leadership, technology skills and experience to the civilian workforce. This is an untapped talent pool from which employers across the U.S can and should benefit.

How can we recruit female veteran job seekers if so many choose to remain incognito?

  • Create a safe environment for women veterans to share highlights about the skills and experience they attained during their military service.
  • Showcase photos and testimonials from women veteran employees in recruitment marketing materials.
  • Use terminology such as “military service” in lieu of “veteran” which may resonate better with women who served.
  • Create communities to connect women veteran employees and engage them as recruitment ambassadors.
  • Dispel myths that hiring managers may have about the availability and qualifications of female veterans. Now you have the data to overcome the common objection of “but there aren’t many women veteran applicants out there!”

Since January 2013, AT&T has hired more than 450 women veterans, and we’re not stopping there. We’re increasing career outreach to women veterans and are committed to remaining engaged with them through our recruitment process. We optimize their success by providing ongoing consultation for our recruiters and hiring managers on skills translation, and through ongoing support for veteran job seekers via our Careers for Veterans Job Search Advisor program.

VA research indicates that the states with the largest number of women veterans are Texas, California, Florida, Virginia and Georgia. Are you looking for top talent in those locations? If so, join AT&T in promoting jobs to women veterans, engaging with them and creating checkpoints in your process to optimize their success through your recruiting process.