Heroes for Hire?

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Objective: To share the concerns of veteran unemployment rates and perceptions within the civilian workforce.

Time to read: 3 minutes

Resource: http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2016/07/07/employer-survey-vetera…

Veterans face many challenges when they return from deployment. One big contributor to these challenges is a lack of understanding by civilians. There are many stereotypes and stigmas surrounding veterans that become obvious in the hiring process.

When returning from service, finding employment can be a challenge. Employers sometimes have misconceptions about veterans, or they may form an opinion based solely on a candidate’s status as a veteran, rather than considering whom the candidate is as an individual.

Veterans continue to be praised as heroes by employers and civilians alike. While this may sound good, another stereotype that comes up often is the rate of mental illness among veterans. A survey recently found that employers believe about 40% of veterans had mental illnesses, like Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, caused by their service. In reality, that number is closer to 10-20%. This misconception is detrimental to veterans seeking employment.

The disconnect between the military and civilian population is nothing new, but it’s something that should be addressed, especially when it causes employers to look differently at veterans. Barbara Van Dahlen, founder of Give an Hour, says “The issue is about long-term job fit, advancement, and retention is the veteran given the same look as others?” The conclusion that veterans are viewed as “heroes” by employers but not necessarily “assets” would indicate that they are not given the same look as others.

Jobless rates among Iraq and Afghanistan veterans have decreased in recent years, however, we should still be aware of the stereotypes veteran candidates may experience when looking for work.

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