Employers find many skills associated with military experience highly desirable. Personal strengths including dependability and leadership and decision making experience are sought-after traits. However, in May the unemployment rate for veterans who have served since 9/11 is hovering at 12.7% while the national rate is 8.2%.
Under the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) it is illegal to discriminate against people who serve or have served in the military. The basic tenets ensure persons who serve or have served in the Armed Forces, Reserves, National Guard or other “armed services”:
1.) Are not disadvantaged in their civilian careers because of their service
2.) Are promptly reemployed in their civilian jobs upon return from duty
3.) Are not discriminated against in employment based on past, present or future military service.
Why are veterans having more trouble finding jobs? Employers and veterans can have trouble understanding how military skills translate to civilian positions. Job seekers sometimes lack job-seeking skills, certifications or training which their civilian contemporaries possess. Employers are particularly worried about instability caused by deployments and the possibility of future deployments. These factors are combining to make a tough job market even harder for veterans. The problem is only expected to get worse as more veterans enter civilian job markets because of drawdowns in the Middle East and possible military budget tightening.
MSNBC has done a series of great articles on this topic: