Edmonds Military Wire: Veterans and employers at odds on abilities to perform jobs

By Michael Schindler

OK. So we know the job market is highly competitive right now; we also know consumer confidence is down, which causes employers to be slower to hire. Despite VP Joe Biden’s prediction back in 2010 that “the U.S. economy would be adding up to 500,000 jobs each month, sometime in the next couple of months,” the Labor Department said employers created a paltry 69,000 jobs last month, the weakest in a year, while the unemployment rate rose to 8.2 percent. And unfortunately, our veterans are not being looked at as favorably as we hoped.

I’m at odds with some of my fellow business owners with regard to the value I place on experience, loyalty, leadership, ability to adapt and handle pressure. While most employers say they value these qualities, they are more likely to hire an MBA grad with little job experience as opposed to a non-college grad with real life leadership experience.

Monster.com released its biannual Veterans Talent Index, which revealed that there is a communication gap between veterans and employers. The index delivers a snapshot of the current veteran hiring landscape and was introduced in November 2011 as a tool to help connect veterans and employers more effectively. Highlights of the report show:

- Over the past six months, the index reveals a higher rate of job search activity among veterans, but a drop in confidence in their ability to find a job; for employers, only 39 percent are confident veterans are prepared for their transition into civilian roles, compared to 70 percent of employers who were confident 6 months ago.
- Seventy-five percent of Veterans are very confident their military skills translate into civilian job opportunities, while employers show a significant confidence drop in veterans’ ability to perform their job functions compared to non-military workers. Both veterans and employers feel they lack the tools to appropriately translate their skills. Monster’s military skills translator is designed to assist with this process, ultimately helping match veterans to the right jobs.

While military veterans have valuable skills to bring to the workplace and employers are eager to hire them, the translation of military skills into civilian skills continues to be one of the most difficult aspects of a veterans’ job search:

- Seventy-five percent of veteran respondents believe that the skills they obtained while in the military are relevant to civilian careers.
- Employers value skills that they believe veterans bring to the job, including self-discipline, teamwork, confidence, respect, and the ability to meet deadlines
- About 99 percent of employers surveyed recommended hiring veterans.
- The Veterans Talent Index found that there has been a loss of confidence in the ability to find the right employment match from both the employer and veteran job seeker perspective.
- Only 29 percent of veterans are confident about finding work that suits them, down from 44 percent in November 2011
- Only 39 percent of employers believe that veterans are prepared for career transition out of the military, down from 77 percent in November 2011

Here’s the bottom line:
Projected transitioning service members: More than one million military service members will re-enter civilian life over the next five years and veterans transitioning out of the military continue to face challenging hiring conditions.
- Veterans aren’t prepared: Only 39 percent of employers, down significantly from 77 percent in the November report, agreed that veterans or those with prior military experience are prepared for a career transition out of the military.

America, we need to figure this out and work toward a collaborative solution.

For more information, read their report here.

Michael Schindler, Navy veteran, and president of Edmonds-based Operation Military Family, is a guest writer for several national publications, author of the book “Operation Military Family” and “The Military Wire” blog. He is also a popular keynote and workshop speaker who reaches thousands of service members and their families every year through workshops and seminars that include  “How to Battle-Ready Your Relationship” or “What Your Mother-in-Law Didn’t Tell You.”  He received the 2010 Outstanding Patriotic Service Award from the Washington State Department of Veterans Affairs.

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