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Job Market Looking Up for US Veterans

Job Market Looking Up for US Veterans
Credit: Sean Locke Photography/Shutterstock

The struggle to find work may finally be easing up for U.S. veterans, new research finds.

One-third of employers are now actively recruiting veterans for jobs, up from 27 percent a year ago and 20 percent in 2011, according to a study from CareerBuilder. In addition, 31 percent of businesses have hired a veteran in past 12 months who had recently returned from duty, up from 28 percent in 2013.

The research also revealed that the number of veterans who are underemployed or in a low-paying job has dropped to 23 percent in the last year. In 2013, 32 percent of veterans reported being in jobs that didn't match their skill sets.

Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics show that, overall, the unemployment rate of post 9/11-era veterans is at 6.2 percent, down from 10.1 percent in 2013.

Rosemary Haefner, vice president of human resources at CareerBuilder, said the efforts of U.S. companies to recruit and train veterans is starting to pay off.

"In the past, employers said they sometimes overlooked veterans' resumes because they weren't sure how skills learned in the military translate to the civilian world," Haefner said in a statement. "We’ve learned, though, that when employers make the effort to train and when returning soldiers receive the job search assistance they need, there is almost always a good match."

While nearly 60 percent of military members may think identifying themselves as a veteran when applying for jobs doesn't help their chances, hiring managers disagree. More than 45 percent of employers say they pay more attention to the applications submitted by U.S. veterans and, if choosing between two equally qualified candidates where one is a veteran and the other is not, 68 percent of organizations would be more likely to hire the veteran. [Job Interview Advice for Veterans: Practice ]

The organizations surveyed  listed 10 skills veterans bring to the table that the companies find appealing.

  • Ability to work as a team
  • Disciplined approach to work
  • 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

Despite having the skills many employers are searching for, many veterans say they still struggle with the job search process. Nearly 40 percent of those surveyed didn't know how to write a résumé after leaving active duty, while 33 percent didn't know what industry or field in the civilian world was relevant to the type of service they performed on active duty.

When looking for work, veterans will have the most success finding science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) jobs, according to the research. The specific positions employers are hiring veterans for most this year are:

  • IT manager/network administrator
  • Customer service representative
  • Computer programmer
  • Engineer
  • Administrative assistant/secretary
  • Accountant
  • Sales representative
  • Other computer or Internet specialty
  • Mechanic

The study was based on surveys of 2,440 U.S. hiring managers and human resource professionals, and 286 U.S. veterans.

Chad Brooks

Chad Brooks is a Chicago-based writer who has nearly 15 years' experience in the media business. A graduate of Indiana University, he spent nearly a decade as a staff reporter for the Daily Herald in suburban Chicago, covering a wide array of topics including, local and state government, crime, the legal system and education. Following his years at the newspaper Chad worked in public relations, helping promote small businesses throughout the U.S. Follow him on Twitter.