New Spherion Study Finds that Military Members Increasingly are Prepared and Eager to Enter the Civilian Workforce

Staff Report From Georgia CEO

Friday, November 10th, 2017

As the Veterans' Day holiday approaches, many American service men and women either are preparing for or reflecting upon their transition into civilian life, namely in regards to their post-service career. However, as the latest WorkSphere survey from Spherion Staffing found, veterans' acclimation to the modern workforce may not be as challenging as long believed. In fact, former military members are taking proactive strides to ensure they can thrive immediately after leaving their post.

According to the Spherion survey, conducted online in October 2017 with global market research data organization Research Now, more than four in five (86 percent) veterans landed their first post-service civilian job within six months of concluding their military tenure. Beyond simply landing "a job," the data also shows that most of these veterans found "the right job," with more than half (59 percent) remaining in their first civilian role for at least two years.

Veterans' immediate workplace successes appear to be the result of diligent preparation, including juggling career planning with service duties. Spherion found that veterans are not wasting time pursuing a position - more than one-third (36 percent) began searching for their first post-service job while still enrolled, with a nearly equal number (33 percent) saying they did so immediately after their service completed. More encouraging is that most of these veterans exited their military role with a specific plan in mind. Fifty-two percent said they knew which career path they wanted to pursue after their service, with 90 percent expressing confidence in their ability to achieve it.

While veterans are enthusiastic to start a new career, many opt – at least initially – to remain in their comfort zone. Nearly two-thirds (65 percent) of reintegrating veterans say they prefer their first civilian job to feature skills at least "somewhat related" to those of their military role. Additionally, 38 percent say they did not complete any special job training or additional education before entering the workforce. Despite the threat of a skills gap, service men and women trust that they can succeed once they get in the door – more than three-fourths (80 percent) feel the intangible skills they learned during service will allow them to successfully adapt to their job even if their professional skills need refinement.

Spherion also found that enhanced efforts from companies to recruit and hire veterans have been critical to this smooth transition to the workforce. However, many veterans still welcome and see room for additional professional assistance. Only 32 percent say that their current company offers formal training or workplace assistance programs for veterans, with a far greater number (59 percent) expressing interest in taking advantage of such programs if they were made available. Veterans also see great opportunities for their peers to enjoy even greater success by improving their personal branding. Among core job search skills, veterans believe they and their cohorts could use the greatest help with resume development (47 percent) and interviewing (43 percent).

"More businesses recognize the diverse range of experiences and skills veterans can bring to their team, and are ramping up their efforts to recruit and onboard this growing workforce segment," said Sandy Mazur, Spherion Division President. "While the initial successes veterans enjoy as they reenter the workforce are encouraging, business leaders and HR teams must continuously find ways to ensure that these workers can develop their skills and achieve personal and professional growth long-term."

Spherion also found that reintegrating veterans at least are intrigued about how external resources can help them achieve even bigger dreams. While less than one-third (32 percent) say they currently are interested in someday owning their own business, a higher number (50 percent) say they would consider pursuing that option if a company offered incentives for veteran owners.

For the October 2017 WorkSphere survey, Spherion and Research Now polled more than 1,000 U.S. military veterans up to 20 years removed from their last military stint. The survey explores the areas where veterans both are successful and need additional assistance as they reenter the working world.