Hiring Managers Cite Military Experience as a Plus for Job Seekers

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Apollo Research Institute study finds veterans possess skills and attributes employers value.

Employers say military skills such as leadership and team building are highly valued and transferable to civilian jobs.

President Obama’s declaration that 40,000 troops will be leaving Iraq in the next few weeks is welcome news, but no doubt many soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines are already thinking about the challenges of re-entering civilian life. What they may not know is that new research from the Apollo Research Institute finds employers not only value military experience in job applicants, but the skills veterans develop during service may give them an edge.

The research is particularly timely as the U.S. scales back its military operations and an increasing number of veterans need career guidance and training when they return home.

To expand the limited research on success criteria for military personnel entering civilian careers, Apollo Research Institute (formerly University of Phoenix Research Institute) surveyed more than 800 hiring managers in diverse industries. The findings are published in the report, Hiring Heroes: Employer Perceptions, Preferences, and Hiring Practices Related to U.S. Military Personnel.

In recent years, veterans have faced barriers when competing for and transitioning into civilian jobs. In 2010 the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that reservists and National Guard members had much higher unemployment rates than civilians.

Today, however, many hiring managers are citing military experience as a plus, saying veterans possess skills and attributes that play well on the job. This is good news for veterans who face unique barriers including disabilities, poor transition assistance, concerns about calls to active duty, and misperceptions about their skills.

Employers say military skills such as leadership and team building are highly valued and transferable to civilian jobs. The research finds 92% of respondents have few reservations about hiring military personnel as long as they are qualified. When asked about concerns with hiring reservists or National Guard members, 74% of respondents said they have few concerns even though such individuals would likely miss work due to deployments.

The research was highlighted at a recent webinar, From Enlisted to Employed: Educating Military Veterans for Civilian Careers, presented by Apollo Research Institute and hosted by The Chronicle of Higher Education. The webinar panel featured academic, industry and military experts who examined the challenges service members face when entering the current workforce. Panelists also discussed how educators can better meet service members’ needs and how servicepeople can best position themselves for civilian jobs.

Moderator Dr. Tracey Wilen-Daugenti, Vice President and Managing Director of Apollo Phoenix Research Institute, says: “With 40,000 troops coming home in the next month or so, it is imperative that we not only help veterans understand what employers need today, but also encourage partnerships between educators and industries to develop a strong employment pipeline for the future.”

To access the full report and webinar: http://www.apolloresearchinstitute.com

About Apollo Research Institute
Apollo Research Institute conducts research that demonstrates the value of education for the current and future workforce. Through academic and industry partnerships, Apollo Research Institute makes research-based recommendations to help leaders ensure today’s workforce is employable tomorrow. Visit http://www.apolloresearchinstitute.com.

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Caroline Molina-Ray, PhD