Changing the Conversation About Veteran Employment

This morning at the Veteran Jobs Mission Coalition Meeting, Edelman unveiled new research that sheds light on the misperceptions employers have about veterans’ job skills and education levels.

The findings from Edelman Intelligence show that although 76 percent of the employers surveyed want to hire more veterans, most have underlying misconceptions about veterans’ education levels, job skills and potential for success. Only 38 percent of employers believe the skills veterans learn in the military are easily transferable to the public or private sector, while most (62 percent) believe veterans need to acquire more skills — both hard and soft — before being ready for non-military roles.

Employers also have misperceptions about veterans’ education levels and opportunities for career success that may be inhibiting veterans’ employment prospects. Forty-nine percent of employers believe most veterans do not pursue a college or vocational school degree either during or after their military service. The National Veteran Education Success Tracker, conducted by our study partner Student Veterans of America, shows otherwise. Since 2009, veterans have earned 453,000 degrees and certificates using the Post-9/11 GI Bill, and in 10 years, student veterans are expected to have earned 1.4 million degrees. In addition, our study shows that 52 percent of employers believe that veterans, compared to average citizens, do not have successful careers after leaving the military.

Like other employers who see the value veterans bring to their workplace, I want to personally debunk this misperception. Based on our own experience of seeing the positive contributions made by the veterans we employ, I am even more positive about the importance of hiring veterans at Edelman. They have the leadership, skills, knowledge, and experience to help employers continue to grow.

In the past year, I’ve worked to forge new Edelman partnerships supporting our transitioning veterans, including with Veteran Jobs Mission and as a member of the Board of Advisors for the Student Veterans of America. We’ve brought on our first military fellow in the Washington office through the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s Hiring Our Heroes corporate fellowship program.

Our nation remains involved in the longest conflicts in America’s history, which have produced more than 4 million post-9/11 veterans. We’re a company founded by a veteran—my father, Dan Edelman — who used his military skills, leadership and experience to establish Edelman, which is now a leading global communications marketing firm.

By recognizing our veterans as strategic assets, we affirm their value, recognize their potential to excel and help them dig new foxholes from which to fight and win for their firms in their post-service careers. Edelman’s 65 years of industry leadership is a definitive proof of concept.

John Edelman is managing director, Global Engagement & Corporate Responsibility.

Luke Michael

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