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Veterans survey: Back on their feet

Advantages—and challenges—for Vets returning to the workforce

Overview

If you’ve served in the military, there’s some good news. The unemployment rate for most veterans is lower than it is for civilians. What’s more, many veterans earn higher salaries than their civilian counterparts, especially if they’re working in the same field as they did while in the service. And a large majority of veterans are saying their salaries have increased since leaving the military.

Overall, the unemployment rate for vets is slightly lower than for civilians by about .3 percent, according the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Vets have a 7 percent employment rate while the general population unemployment rate is 7.3 percent. But there are some bleak spots in the vet employment picture as well.

Key Findings

Veterans who land civilian jobs in the same career field as that of their military service are earning the most—74 percent of this group say they earn $50,000 or more annually compared to 41 percent of veterans who work in a different field, according to an Accenture study. About 46 percent of vets said their salary increased in the civilian workforce, and 52 percent said their salary increased working in a civilian field similar to their military service.

At the same time, however, military training is not always an asset. In the Accenture study, 36 percent of unemployed veterans said that translating their military service and skills to skills applicable in the civilian workforce is the biggest challenge in their job search.

Analysis

Cleary, military service can pay off—for most. But many veterans have said that military service alone is not enough to land a job. Education plays a critical role as well. According to the Accenture study, 53 percent of vets say their service played a significant role in helping them land a full time job, while 33 percent said it was the single biggest factor. But a far higher percentage of employed vets—69 percent—said additional training or education was the key to landing a job.

While the employment picture may appear relatively rosy for most vets, it’s important to note that it is mostly pre-9/11 or “Gulf War-era” vets who are experiencing higher employment rates and reaping larger salaries. Younger vets are facing a host of challenges. Post-9/11 vets and those under 25 years of age are experiencing unemployment rates more than 3 percent higher than non-vets (10 percent versus 6.8 percent), according to federal government data.

Recommendations

Accenture offers vets a number of resources, including Military Career Coach, an online tool to help veterans better translate their skills to the civilian workforce. We also partner with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation to help veterans and their spouses find employment through a program called Hiring Our Heroes. The program is intended to secure commitments from businesses of all sizes to hire 500,000 veterans and military spouses by the end of 2014.

To address the difficulty many veterans face in finding work, Accenture is facilitating 100 employment skills workshops at U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation job fairs across the country. The workshops help veterans and their spouses with résumé writing, job searching, personal branding and interviewing skills.

Related

Read a comprehensive study on how veterans are faring in the job market.

Infographic

Helping veterans and their spouses find employment and get back on their feet

Accenture conducted a survey of 1,000 U.S. veterans who separated from the military within the past 15 years, ages 18 and older, and some of the results were surprising. While the unemployment rate for most veterans is lower than it is for civilians, younger vets—particularly those who’ve served after 9/11—are experiencing difficulties in the job market. Download a quick snapshot to see some highlights form the study.

Related

Read a comprehensive study on how veterans are faring in the job market.

Video

Helping veterans and their spouses find employment and get back on their feet.

Since 2011, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation has helped more than 21,000 veterans and military spouses find meaningful employment through a program called Hiring Our Heroes. Accenture is pleased to support this important endeavor, and as a proud participant facilitated 100 employment workshops in 2013 alone, with many more ongoing.

Overall, Hiring Our Heroes has hosted more than 650 hiring fairs in all 50 states, Puerto Rico, and the District of Columbia. The program is intended to secure commitments from businesses of all sizes to hire 500,000 veterans and military spouses by the end of 2014. See some highlights from a Hiring Our Heroes event that took place in 2013.

Related

Read a comprehensive study on how veterans are faring in the job market