Hiring bias linked to veterans’ joblessness

Discussion in 'Life After the Academy' started by bruno, Sep 14, 2011.

  1. bruno

    bruno Retired Staff Member

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    http://www.armytimes.com/news/2011/09/military-unemployment-reservists-hiring-bias-091411w/

    Disturbing if true (and I have a gut feeling that it is more true than not). All of that flag waiving yak on 9/11, but when faced with a possible inconvenience- hire someone else. Most of those hiring managers probably have a little flag sticker in the back window of the car. :thumbdown:

     
  2. patentesq

    patentesq Parent

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    bruno, I don't think this article is accurate. From personal experience, I can tell you that I owe my career to being a vet. In my first job after law school, I applied for a job with a U.S. Court of Appeals judge who was a WWII vet, and very proud of it. There were something like 1000 applicants from law schools around the country (even ivy leaguers) who applied for that job, and I was the only veteran (at least I was later told) in the stack of resumes. Although everyone was certainly qualified, being a vet was the single fact that caused my resume to float to the top of the pile. Also, when I was in private practice, I know first-hand that vets got a hiring preference -- they were seen as dependable, willing to stick to a plan when the going got tough, and genuine folks able to employ initiative (as opposed to hanging around waiting for instructions). More important, vets were seen as leaders, which is critical in business. I know you agree with these attributes of vets, and I suspect we are not alone.

    Maybe I'm unusual, but when I look at a potential hire, I really take notice whenever I see prior military experience on a resume. I don't think this is limited to my industry, as I have heard anecdotes of, say, firemen or police officers losing the "resume battle" to vets who get priority in hiring. And I think there are many business leaders who are vets and feel the same way, like the leaders at these companies: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dAj56ZWw8Pc

    I think the flag-waiving yak on 9/11 is genuinely felt by a majority in this country. And for the attributes listed above, vets are more of a "sure bet" than many other candidates.

    I suspect there may be "politics" underlying this article (relating to the new POTUS "American Jobs Act" hiring-preference proposal) and that vet discrimination is not as prevalent as this article makes it out to be.

    I think the real reason underlying low vet hiring is simply that our economy stinks right now, not discrimination. In short, I reject the notion that serving our country can be a detriment to obtaining post-service employment. It is not statistically relevant to compare the vet unemployment to the overall unemployment rate, because most of the currently employed in our economy already had jobs before the economy turned south. A better comparison would be to compare recently separated vets to recently laid-off civilian workers. Using the same statistics in this article, it would seem that 70% of vets are being hired (if you assume that 30% are unemployed), and I expect the odds of a recently laid-off civilian worker finding a new job is much lower lower than 70%.

    Going forward, we are going to have a problem finding jobs for vets as the government draws down after 10 years of war. You may recall when the Soviet Union collapsed, they took the radical approach of keeping the soldiers on active duty because they couldn't be absorbed by the economy back then (although eventually they did). But I don't think rampant discrimination against vets in the former Soviet Union was ever cited as a reason for that measure. It was economics.
     
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2011
  3. Just_A_Mom

    Just_A_Mom Member

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    The problem is NOT being a Veteran. It's being in the National Guard or Reserves.
    All enlistments are 8 years. Many young soldiers sign on for 3-4 years active duty and then must serve the remainder of the obligation in the Guard or Reserves.

    Employers just don't want to hire an employee whose job is going to be interrupted by repeated deployments, not to mention that pesky two week annual training.

    It is a shame really. I am afraid that 10 years of repeated National Guard deployments may have ruined it and going forward this will hurt recruitment.
     
  4. bruno

    bruno Retired Staff Member

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    I think that JAM is accurate- the title of the article is a little misleading but the gist of the article lays the issue out not so much as being a Vet per se, as it is being a Reserve/Guard member and applying for a job, and in that regard- I think the article rings true. The difference between now and the Vietnam era is that a pretty high percentage of those deploying did so as reserve/guard units and come back from the war with ongoing Reserve commitments with those units.

    I am in business now and I understand the concerns that hiring managers have about potential deployments and have heard questions about "but what if they get called up", and I know for example when my wife was applying for a teaching position last year she reassured them several times that she was in fact completely retired and no longer had any obligations to either reserve drill time or mobilizations. After that - her military service was a positive bullet in her resume. but up to that point - it was a distinct negative because they looked at it from the position of hiring someone with the potential to be called away for extended periods of time. While that may be a possibility, it seems like a small enough hurdle for an employer to have to work around. It absolutely is forbidden to consider looking at a young woman who is applying for a job and asking her if she plans on having children- This is the same thing. It's really no coincidence that a very high % of long serving reservists tend to be state or federal government employees as by and large guard/reserve membership is at worst treated as a neutral factor in hiring decisions while private employers often treat it a lot differently.
     
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2011
  5. MemberLG

    MemberLG Member

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    I agree that the article lacks substance and research

    The job market doesn't help. If you have 10 applicants for a single opening, you can be very picky.

    National Guard/Reserve member demographic is different from the national demographic. My guess is that NG/Reserve members in high populated areas (i.e. Baltimore) have less challenges than rural areas (i.e Western MD).

    Some NG/Reserve members actually manipulate the system to be gone from work. I don't think the intention of USERRA not to protect NG/Reserve members to go between their civilains jobs and military duties as they please.
     

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