-Article from Yahoo Finance: http://finance.yahoo.com/news/veterans-cite-finding-job-greatest-150000646.html
” With the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan winding down, new research shows more than two thirds (69%) of Veterans reported “finding a job” as the greatest challenge in transitioning to civilian life. The Veterans’ Employment Challenges study of 1,845 Post-9/11 and Gulf War-era II Veterans also showed that 64 percent of Veterans experienced a difficult transition to civilian life. Conducted by Prudential Financial, Inc. [NYSE:PRU], with the support of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA), the survey highlights the unique challenges Veterans are facing when transitioning to civilian life and the greatest challenge for many, finding a job.
“With tens of thousands of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans returning from service, the good news is that the nation is more focused than ever on helping Veterans transition back into civilian careers,” said Raymond Weeks, vice president, Veterans Initiatives at Prudential Financial. “But with employment among Veterans significantly higher than the population overall, particularly those under 30, the need to help get Veterans on career paths has never been greater.”
The survey revealed close to half of Veterans did not feel ready to transition largely due to employment and health challenges, but also the need to take time to decompress after service and “figure out what’s next.” Along with the difficulty of finding a job in the current economy, 60 percent of Veterans reported that their most significant challenge is explaining how their military experience translates to skills of interest to a civilian employer. Veterans also pointed to the challenge of competing with candidates who have been in the workforce longer (46%) as well as a lack of education for specific roles (43%).
“Veterans are loyal, disciplined and resilient leaders given the challenges they’ve faced at war and now at home,” said Paul Rieckhoff, IAVA Founder and Executive Director. “These qualities uniquely define the New Greatest Generation—and they are values that any employer would want in a new employee. As thousands transition home, what these men and women need most are opportunities to deploy their proven skills and leadership in the civilian workforce on the home front.”
While the readiness to transition to civilian life increases with age and education, Veterans facing physical or mental health challenges are twice as likely to say they were not ready to transition (53% vs. 28% respectively). Recognizing the need and value of education, close to half who said they didn’t feel ready to transition believe they need more education or technical training.
Despite the difficulty they report in their transition into civilian roles, 90 percent of Veterans looking for a job believe they have the skills needed to land their ideal job. They point to problem solving, leadership, ethics and time management and, although less frequently, specific skills such as information technology or health care that can be applied to civilian roles. Although the majority (71%) feel their military service is respected by employers, fewer believe their skills and training are appreciated (56%). Moreover, three in five are concerned about translating their skills to a business environment (58%) and one in two worry that non-Veteran managers do not understand military culture (48%).
“Among the challenges this research confirms for employers and Veterans is the need to bridge the perception gap between the skills Veterans offer and what employers are looking for,” added Weeks. “Veterans are looking for support in the form of educational and training programs that help them transition into civilian careers above and beyond what they currently receive. Companies that invest in these programs and that provide other support services that meet Veterans’ needs are most likely to attract and benefit from the skills, experience, values and leadership Veterans offer.”
The survey polled 2,453 Veterans and separating service members in an online survey from December 12, 2011 to January 23, 2012. Click here to download the survey or IAVA’s recommendations based on the survey. “