Military veterans looking for a civilian job should have a bit easier time finding one than in years past, new research finds.
Nearly 40 percent of employers plan to actively recruit veterans over the next year, up from 33 percent in 2014 and 27 percent in 2013, according to a study from CareerBuilder.
Despite the expected increase in hiring, many veterans are finding themselves in jobs they aren't very happy with. The research found that 31 percent of employed veterans believe they are underemployed or in a low-paying job, up from 23 percent from a year ago. Additionally, only 65 percent of the working veterans surveyed are satisfied with their jobs, down from 67 percent in 2014.
Many organizations have focused on marketing their veteran hiring initiatives over the past few years, which has paid off, said Rosemary Haefner, chief human resources officer at CareerBuilder.
"But employers may still not understand the skills veterans had in the military, which may land them in positions that don't use all their skills and not get them the higher salary levels that they deserve," Haefner said in a statement. "Veterans may have to present themselves in a different way, but once hired, employers should work to ensure they have the skills they need to be successful and [to be] in challenging, rewarding roles in their civilian careers."
One problem veterans are facing is that they aren't sure which jobs are a good fit for their skills. One-third of the veterans surveyed said they didn't know what industry or field in the civilian world was relevant to the type of service they performed while they were on active duty. [Best Bets for Veteran-Owned Businesses ]
According to the employers that are hiring former military members, the 10 best positions for veterans this year are:
- Customer service
- Information technology
- Distribution and logistics
- Business development
- Research and development
- Human resources
When searching for a job, CareerBuilder says veterans shouldn't be afraid to highlight their service. Despite nearly 60 percent of veterans thinking that emphasizing their military history doesn't help their chances of finding a job, nearly half of employers said they pay more attention to the applications submitted by veterans. In addition, 69 percent said if given two equally qualified candidates — one veteran and one not — they are more likely to hire the veteran.
It's also critical for veterans to stress the strengths they picked up while serving. The employers surveyed said the most important qualities members of the armed forces bring to organizations after leaving active duty are:
- Disciplined approach to work
- Ability to work as a team
- Respect and integrity
- Ability to perform under pressure
- Leadership skills
- Problem-solving skills
- Ability to adapt quickly
- Attitude of perseverance
- Communication skills
- Strong technical skills
CareerBuilder also advises veterans to use the training opportunities that are available to them. Although veterans can use programs available in the GI Bill to receive job training in on-the-job or apprenticeship training programs, just 29 percent of the employed veterans surveyed took advantage of those opportunities.
The study was based on surveys of 2,529 hiring and human resources managers and 256 veterans employed in full-time positions across a variety of industries and company sizes.