Analyzes 2014 Veterans Job Retention Survey data to help understand the relationship between transitioning service members, veteran job seekers, and the labor force; and provides recommendations for employers and job seekers that may improve retention and employment outcomes for this population.
"Today more than 11 million veterans, approximately half of all U.S. veterans, are active participants in the civilian labor force. Another one million service members will join the labor force as they transition to civilian life by 2020. Consider, too, that nearly one in every four of recent military separations were involuntary. Significant numbers of separating service members are unexpectedly facing the daunting task of navigating the transition from military service to the civilian world of work. For these individuals and their families, workforce preparation and vocational planning is critical to ensure family and financial stability in their transition.

Despite numerous transition-focused resources available to veterans, reliable and predictable pathways to civilian employment remain elusive. Translating military experience, obtaining educational and vocational credentials, identifying the right job opportunities, and overall job availability are among many challenges that veterans face in transition. As a result, post-service transition remains a key focus area for policy makers, employers, researchers, and veterans themselves—particularly on issues related to employment and career readiness.…

The goals of this paper are to further explore and highlight barriers and challenges that veterans face when obtaining and retaining employment, and to understand how employers and organizations can apply the concept of workforce readiness to best structure their veteran-centric employee hiring programs and ultimately improve veteran retention in the workplace” (p.3). Workforce readiness is defined “as an interaction between what the veteran brings to the workplace and the employer’s needs with respect to the employee’s experience, qualifications, time, and geography” (p.6).

For their analysis, the authors used “the 2014 Veterans Job Retention Survey, an [Institute for Veterans and Military Families] and VetAdvisor survey that explores why veterans leave their initial post-military jobs” (p.5). The survey sample included 1,484 respondents.

This is the third paper in a series of Workforce Readiness Briefs produced by the Institute for Veterans and Military Families to explore employment readiness in connection with transitioning service members and veterans.

(Abstractor: Author and Website Staff)

Major Findings & Recommendations

The paper finds that: • “74 percent of the respondents indicated that their current job was in their preferred career field, 60 percent indicated that their current job matched the occupations for which they were trained while in the military, and 79 percent indicated that their veteran status helped them obtain their current job” (p.24). • “Job tenure of veteran respondents in their preferred career field exceeds, on average, job tenure of veteran respondents in jobs that do not match their preferred career field” (p.24). • “Veterans that indicated that they were not currently in their preferred career field corresponded with a stronger desire (more than 50 percent of this group) to change employer or career field. This highlights how important it is for the veteran to find a job that matches his/her preferred career field” (p.24). The paper provides several recommendations for employers and veteran job seekers, including the following: For employers: • “Adopt an individualized approach to hiring transitioning military and veterans. • Take time to understand each employee’s personal and professional goals within the organization. • Enable a customized plan to help individual employees succeed in the workplace and take ownership in their career advancement. • Utilize mentorship and peer mentoring programs that can help veteran employees learn about opportunities within a company that will best align with their skillsets and personal career goals” (p.25).” For veteran jobseekers: • When possible, utilize educational benefits prior to transition, particularly if you intend to work in a position distinct from your work in the military. • Leverage available mentorship, internship, and on-the-job training programs wherever possible in order to gain exposure to available positions, educational opportunities, and chances to gain job experience in civilian settings; participate in peer networking programs, before, during, and after transition to better understand how to take advantage of opportunities for advancement, certification, or training.... • Prior to military transition, talk to veterans who have successfully transitioned to identify positions, industries, and companies of interest. LinkedIn veteran groups can be a tremendous avenue for information and networking” (p.25). (Abstractor: Author and Website Staff)