The process of finding and securing a job, while frustrating at times, may seem relatively straightforward to us civilians. But for returning military veterans, it can be a major struggle. Thankfully, the employment landscape for our servicemen and women is starting to look up. One third of employers (33 percent) are actively recruiting veterans over the next year, according to the CareerBuilder Veterans Day Job Forecast, up from 27 percent last year.
Comings and goings
The outlook is improving for veterans who’ve found civilian jobs as well. Sixty-seven percent of all currently employed veterans are satisfied with their jobs, an eight-point improvement over last year.
At the same time, 24 percent of working vets say they plan to change jobs next year, up from 20 percent in 2013. At first blush that may seem like bad news, but since employees are more likely to plan on switching jobs when there’s a strong job market, this increase is actually a sign of improvement.
Similarly, nearly a quarter (23 percent) of employed veterans say they’re underemployed or working in a low-paying job. While this is certainly a high percentage, it’s still a major improvement from 32 percent last year.
Rejoining the civilian workforce comes with a number of difficulties for returning veterans, but the majority (81 percent) say they felt prepared for the task – up 13 percentage points from a year prior.
Know what they’re looking for
Things may be looking up for our military veterans, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t room for improvement. It turns out, one of the biggest hurdles to decreasing the veteran unemployment rate is modesty.
Most veterans (57 percent) don’t think self-identifying as a veteran on their resumes helps their chances of finding a job. However, 46 percent of employers say they pay more attention to the applications submitted by veterans, and, if faced with two equally qualified employees – one veteran, one civilian – 68 percent of employers would be more likely to hire the veteran.
Of course, there are plenty of additional personal attributes that vets should be highlighting on their resumes and in interviews. Employers shared the most important qualities members of the armed forces bring to organizations:
- Ability to work as a team: 62 percent
- Disciplined approach to work: 62 percent
- Respect and integrity: 58 percent
- Ability to perform under pressure: 52 percent
- Leadership skills: 50 percent
- Problem solving skills: 45 percent
- Ability to adapt quickly: 44 percent
- Attitude of perseverance: 43 percent
- Communication skills: 36 percent
- Strong technical skills: 30 percent
Top jobs for veterans
Another problem facing many returning vets is determining which industry or field best fits the experience they gained during active duty. Many employers have specific positions or departments they look to fill with military veterans – most commonly science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) jobs. The following are the top positions, according to employers hiring veterans this year:
1. IT manager/network administrator: 16 percent
2. Customer service representative: 14 percent
3. Computer programmer: 14 percent
4. Engineer: 13 percent
5. Administrative assistant/secretary: 13 percent
6. Accountant: 13 percent
7. Sales rep: 12 percent
8. Other computer or Internet specialty: 11 percent
9. Mechanic: 10 percent
10. Machine operator/assembly worker/production: 10 percent
Video: Can one veteran change a team?
This Veterans Day, CareerBuilder thanks everyone who has served in the U.S. Armed Forces, protecting our rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Watch the video about a veteran who continues to lead and inspire his team every day.