Pride for our American heroes is deeply woven into the fabric of our nation, but appreciation has yet to lead to inclusion in the hiring game. Veterans continue to endure stigmas that bind them to low-skill positions—and the military spouses supporting active-duty personnel face an unwavering 22% unemployment rate. But for employers, there’s a growing business case for leading the change.
An untapped demographic is an opportunity for your organization to get ahead. As labor shortages rise and hiring challenges grow, the proactive recruitment of veterans and military spouses—who offer expansive skillsets and diverse perspectives—can help your business flourish. While other employers overlook their untraditional backgrounds, you can become a preferred employer for the nearly 19.4 million veterans and 1 million military spouses in the United States.
Ready to support our armed forces while accelerating your business growth? Here are seven benefits of hiring veterans and military spouses you can reap.
4 Benefits of Hiring Veterans
Nearly 200,000 military personnel transition into civilian life each year, with many entering the civilian workforce right away. While federal law prevents the discrimination of protected veterans—including those who recently left military service—employers are often concerned about vets’ ability to acclimate. However, former service members are far more adaptable than you may think, and they can be incredibly valuable to your organization. Consider these four benefits of hiring veterans:
1. Highly Transferrable Skills
The nature of military service can be tough—and those who go through it experience regular hardship, change, and uncertainty. As a result, service members develop excellent problem-solving, resilience, work ethic, and the ability to learn quickly. These soft skills can translate to strong performance and adaptability in the workplace.
Many veterans also have outstanding leaderships skills, which means they can make highly valuable contributions as managers. Service members with experience leading direct reports understand the importance of clear communication and bring strong accountability to the table.
2. Increased Retention
Loyalty and commitment are instilled in service members. Over 90% of employers agree veterans have the same or a higher retention rate compared to civilian workers—and they’re equally as or more likely to accept a job offer. Creating an inclusive environment for veterans from the interview process onward can help your business improve key talent metrics, all while reducing cost-per-hire and turnover expenses.
3. Strong Cross-Cultural Communication
Whether or not service members are deployed overseas, they often work in multicultural environments. In fact, 41% of military members identify as part of minority groups, and local civilians are often just as diverse. Despite the potential for cultural barriers with the full spectrum of life experiences, service members frequently forge strong relationships with their units, locals, and other peers.
Hiring a veteran can strengthen your company culture by improving team-building and cultural competence within your organization. Veterans can also be adept at aligning everyone behind the same business goals.
4. Financial Incentives
The benefits of hiring military veterans include two key financial incentives.
The Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC)—which lets you claim tax credit when you hire employees from a targeted group, including veterans—is available until December 31, 2025. Thanks to the WOTC, initiatives to hire veterans can help you reduce your payroll taxes by thousands of dollars.
On top of tax incentives for hiring veterans, you can get a Veteran Readiness and Employment (VR&E) subsidy for training eligible ex-service members. This allows you to hire a veteran who isn’t fully qualified for a role without significant risk. (You’ll only need to pay an apprentice salary during the training period.
3 Benefits of Hiring Military Spouses
While military spouses don’t contend with the same stigmas as veterans—and are legally protected from discrimination based on their marital status—the level of unemployment they face is significantly higher. Their frequent moves often lead to career gaps and short-term positions, causing employers to quickly dismiss their resumes. However, there are many reasons to hire military spouses, including the following three.
1. Strong Adaptability
When service members receive permanent change of station (PCS) orders, military spouses often handle the logistics of moving, helping their family settle and building new community connections along the way. They’re accustomed to change—and they’re often proactive about turning new environments into their home. This level of adaptability can translate to agility in your workplace, as well as strong adaptability during organizational and technological shifts.
2. High Rates of Education
Military spouses are a highly educated demographic that remains largely untapped. While only 30% of working-age Americans have college degrees, 40% of military spouses do. Many even pursue advanced degrees and certifications. Companies that hire military spouses can leverage their specialized knowledge to close skills gaps and expand their business capabilities.
3. Excellent Time Management
Military spouses typically have a lot to juggle—work, education, kids, budgeting, housework, social lives, and beyond. Out of necessity, they become excellent time managers who understand how to effectively tackle their to-do lists each day. In the workplace, this makes them high-performers and excellent delegators.
For companies that need talent but don’t need full-time workers, many military spouses are open to flexible hours and gig employment since it allows them to work around their busy, changing schedules.
Build Your Highly Skilled Workforce
Veterans and military spouses bring plenty of highly sought-after soft skills to the workplace, from adaptability and resilience to cultural competence and time management. At the same time, these veterans remain in low-skill positions, while military spouses remain underemployed. Shifting your hiring strategy to target these individuals can help you quickly build a more effective team.
At ATR International, our Military Commitment program—which connects veterans and military spouses with careers—can help you diversify your workforce with highly skilled and adaptable professionals.