From the Military to the Mediocre

Veterans are finding civilian jobs, but they aren’t happy with the work.

Veterans aren't engaged in civilian careers

Hiring a military veteran isn’t a hard sell for many employers. Over the next 12 months, 37 percent of them will “actively recruit” veterans to work for them, says a new study from CareerBuilder. In the last 12 months, the news is even rosier: 47 percent of employers have already hired a veteran.

Yet veterans aren’t saluting those numbers. Only 57 percent of veterans say “they are satisfied and enjoy their work,” CareerBuilder says. That’s down from 65 percent last year.

The reasons aren’t hard to figure…

Twenty percent report working in a low-paying job (up from 19 percent in 2015), and 22 percent say they are underemployed – working a job that is below their skill level (up 2 percentage points from 2015).

That’s probably because most of these veterans are working in customer service – 37 percent of them, in fact. Another 28 percent are in sales. The jobs that most fit with military service are way down the list…

  • Distribution & Logistics: 22 percent
  • Accounting/Finance: 20 percent
  • Business Development 16 percent
  • Research & Development: 14 percent

“Veteran hiring initiatives seem to be top of mind for the majority of employers,” says Rosemary Haefner, CareerBuilder’s chief human resources officer. “Our veterans bring a unique blend of discipline, leadership and problem-solving skills that employers would be foolish to pass up. But it’s also up to the employer to keep these workers involved and challenged to do their best work.”

Financial challenges facing veterans

It’s not just the low pay and lack of challenging responsibilities that bother veterans. Consolidated Credit president Gary Herman says many veterans are carrying serious debt.

“We’ve previously reported on how military families are falling behind on financial literacy, and how they’ve been stressed by downsizing,” Herman says. “When they get out of the service, those issues only grow as they try to readjust to civilian life. Often, they find themselves quickly saddled with huge debts.”

 

Herman says the problem is so pervasive, it was a big reason why Consolidated Credit introduced military debt consolidation services specifically for veterans. Herman suggests any veterans struggling with low pay and big debts can call for a free debt analysis from a certified credit counselor.