Veterans Struggle to Find Employment

Veterans returning from service are finding it difficult to find employment in the civil sector. Veterans are seemingly being denied employment for one of two reasons:  

  • Veterans have too much experience; or
  • Veterans don’t have the college required for the position. 

In McHenry County, Illinois, there are more than 500 unemployed veterans. Last year, there were 2,230 unemployed veterans statewide between January and October and it is probably safe to say there are many unemployed veterans not collecting unemployment.

Veterans over 50 years of age face additional challenges. Most employers are not looking to take on an older person for a new position, veteran or not. Most of the skill sets older, unemployed veterans possess do not match current employers’ needs. Specifically, older unemployed veterans fall short in the area of technology.

On the flip side of this, older, more experienced veterans are losing positions to younger, less experienced veterans willing to work for lower pay.

One recent phenomenon unemployed veterans face is discrimination. Veterans have been portrayed in movies as ultra-violent, mal-adjusted, and suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) in numbers nowhere near accurate. None of this helps soldiers actually suffering from PTSD returning to the civilian world. The pre-conceived notions people have about veterans, PTSD, and other “shell shocked” clichés are unfortunately working against veterans.

While all these factors working against veterans are certainly imposing, unemployed veterans do have hope. There are a number of things veterans can do to increase their chances of finding a job:

  • Contact local VA offices to utilize their job placement services;
  • Volunteering to increase networking opportunities;
  • Some companies specifically recruit veterans; and
  • GIJobs.com makes available a list of the top 100 companies most likely to hire veterans.

Veterans have advantages civilians do not: they are, for the most part, highly motivated individuals who understand how to work within a group. More than that, businesses keeping veterans employed may be eligible for certain tax breaks as well.