Why Military Veterans Make Great Employees

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Think you know vets? Think again.

Contrary to popular belief, many veterans re-enter civilian life without enduring the struggles often reported in the news, according to The 2015 Veterans Civic Health Index. Commissioned by Got Your Six, an organization that works to combat negative stereotypes and empower veterans, the study also finds that veterans tend to be more civically healthy — more likely to volunteer, vote, involve themselves in local politics, belong to community groups and trust their neighbors — than non-veterans.

The report’s findings may have broad implications for vets seeking employment and their prospective employers. After all, it stands to reason that good citizens are likely to make good employees.

More Vets Are Finding Jobs — and Earning More

Overall, veterans have lower unemployment rates than non-veterans — 5.7 percent compared to 6.1 percent, respectively, revealed by The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs 2015 Veteran Economic Opportunity Report. The unemployment rates of young veterans have steadily decreased for the past 18 months.

What’s more, the same report found that employed veterans under 35 take home 11 percent higher median earnings than their non-veteran peers.

Why Hire a Vet?

Responding to Jeremy Benders’ recent article in Business Insider, Jon Davis, a retired U.S. Marine sergeant and hiring manager, offered 10 reasons why hiring a vet makes sense for employers. He notes that veterans:

  • Are committed to accomplishing their missions
  • Have ingrained leadership talents
  • Take their responsibilities seriously
  • Are taught to be intuitive
  • Will tell superiors when something is wrong
  • Get the job done
  • When given the necessary support, are extremely capable
  • Know the meaning of hard work
  • Are eligible for government-paid education

Vets Are Born Entrepreneurs

As it turns out, many of the same qualities that make veterans valuable employees, also serve them well as entrepreneurs. Sources including Military.com list a number of positive characteristics that lend themselves to entrepreneurial success. Among them, veterans:

  • Possess strong leadership and technological skills
  • Perform efficiently under pressure
  • Are focused
  • Respect policies, procedures and hierarchies
  • Are comfortable working with colleagues from diverse backgrounds
  • Are team players
  • Value integrity and commitment
  • Don’t give up easily

Increasingly, veteran entrepreneurs are putting these strengths to work. Veterans run nearly one in ten small businesses, and the Small Business Association tells us that veterans are 45 percent more likely than non-veterans to be self-employed, according to the U.S. Census. Impressively, veteran-owned businesses employ 5.8 million people and earn $1.2 trillion in receipts.

Vets Have So Much to Give

These statistics are welcome news for U.S. Army veteran, Chris Marvin, managing director of Got Your Six. As Marvin recently told the Washington Post, "It’s important for all of us to provide counterpoints to the misconceptions we have been told [about veterans] for years and years … We want people to know that we are not a population that requires services. But a population that has services to offer."