Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Three Veteran Stereotypes Dispelled

The greater than 200,000 service members exiting the military each year represent a prime source of talent for many companies. However, even in this age of pro-veteran hiring initiatives like Joining Forces, there are still many stereotypes of veterans that persist, oftentimes impeding companies from leveraging this first-rate labor pool. These stereotypes must be debunked so that the civilian sector truly understands the benefits of hiring veterans.

Stereotype #1: Veterans are less educated than their civilian peers. An article on AOL Jobs cites a 2012 survey by veterans advocacy group The Mission Continues and the production company Bad Robot, that says that only 19% of the public believed that veterans are more educated than their civilian counterparts.  However, the numbers reveal the truth. The same article points out that only 8% of veterans 25 and older didn't have a high school degree in 2009, compared to 15% of the population as a whole. And, as of 2009, veterans with bachelor’s degrees are within 2% of civilians at 26% and 28%, respectively.

Stereotype #2: Veterans have PTSD. While some veterans may come out of the service with this issue, they are in the minority and it does not mean it will affect their work. Many civilians deal with depression or anxiety, but that does not mean they can’t have jobs or do not perform well. Additionally, PTSD has gotten a bad rap with images of soldiers becoming violent, which is an extreme that is not the norm. In fact, a 2012 Washington Post article highlighted studies that found that the link between PTSD and violent behavior is weak.

Stereotype #3: Veterans only know how to follow orders and have no transferable skills. This could not be further from the truth. Service members are given orders to follow; however, they often have to make real-time decisions when the stakes are high. Many veterans say that making corporate decisions is easy when compared to battlefield decisions that mean the lives of their fellow soldiers. In fact, a Society of Human Resource Management survey featured in a Fortune article, reveals that companies that go out of their way to recruit and hire veterans actually value their creative thinking and ability to solve unusual problems. Companies are also finding that they can find the most technologically savvy employees in veterans, thanks to their training and exposure to new technologies. Read more about veterans’ transferable skills here.

It is unfortunate that myths like these stop companies from hiring veterans. Again, the numbers illustrate the reality. The sixth edition of the Veteran Talent Index from Monster Worldwide, Inc. and stated that the surveyed employers feel that veterans perform as well or better than non-veterans in terms of career advancement, job retention, and job turnover. They also give their top two motivators for hiring veterans as being that the veteran was the best qualified of the candidate pool (68%) and the veteran's prior work experience (59%).

For hiring managers still reticent to hire military, the best strategy may be to hire a military recruiting firm that can guide them through the process and aid in their recruitment and onboarding efforts, resulting in productive and motivated employees. Learn more about Military Recruiting Services or click here to read about veterans from all branches of service who are making a positive impact at their civilian companies.

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