3 Best Job Areas for Veterans

By: DiversityWorking Press
Date Posted: February 13, 2016

Veterans often find it a challenge to transition to civilian life after serving in the military. This is especially true of young vets who have to surmount obstacles in their job search, such as lack of transferable skills, lack of education and work experience and hesitancy of employers to hire them for some reasons.

Many veterans also suffer from PTSD (Post-traumatic stress disorder) thus furthering their struggles in the civilian world, so they end up poor and homeless. Yet it can be said, as far as the Labor departments' jobs reports are concerned, the overall situation for military veterans is improving, and 2016 hopefully continues to offer better opportunities for them to build a bright future.

The January employment report released last week by the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that transitioning veterans continue to do well in the job market. As the economy continues to recover, jobs are created, and veterans are able to find jobs in the private sector.

January national employment situation:
In January 2016, the country's civilian noninstitutional population - people 16 years and over who are not inmate of instutions like penal, mental facilities, and homes for the aged, and who are not on active duty in the military – totaled 252,397,000. 62.3% of that population, or 157,347,000 participated in the labor force, either as employed or actively looking for jobs. In December last year, the participation rate was a little higher at 62.4%.

Those employed numbered 149,037,000 while 8,309,000 were unemployed, which translated to an unemployment rate of 5.3%. To be considered part of the labor force but without work means someone has to be an active job seeker.

95,051,000 people were not in the labor force in January. To be out of the labor force means one has no job and is not searching for one. Many of those not in the labor force are still in school, others are already retired, while some are kept from the labor force due to family obligations. There are fewer than 1 in 10 people not in the labor force who want to get a job. In January, 6,166,000 wanted to have a job, compared to 5,705, 000 in December 2015.

January employment situation of Veterans:
Last month, there were 21,034,000 veterans, ranging from 18 years old and over, comprising the civilian noninstitutional population, according to the BLS report, a slight decrease from the December figure of 21,059,000. The number of living US veterans continues to shrink and this can be attributed to death: either of old age for vets from the previous wars (WWII, Korea and Vietnam wars) or suicide, a prevalence among young and old vets alike.

Of that figure, 10,709,000 were in the labor force, a 50.9% participation rate. 10,206,000 were employed while 503,000 of them unemployed. This 4.7% unemployment rate shows that veterans fared better than their civilian counterparts. Likewise, compared with the unemployment rate of veterans in January 2015, which was 5.3%, this figure shows an improvement.

10,325,000 vets were not in the labor force last month, in contrast to 10,550,000 veterans in January 2015.

The BLS employment report for January shows older veterans – those who have served in previous wars: World War II, Korean War, and Vietnam War – seemed better in finding themselves at work, with an unemployment rate of 4.1%, compared with that of Gulf War-era II veterans whose unemployment rate was 5.7%.

As noted in the beginning of this article, younger veterans have a harder time in finding jobs, more so for those who are considered “millennial veterans.” Apart from the reasons mentioned above, millennial veterans face discrimination from employers who are not ready to accommodate those with PTSD.

Competing in the tough job market with other Americans is indeed no mean feat.

Best jobs to translate veterans skills and strengths
A survey by the Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research and Public Opinion Strategies shows the American public perceives Irag and Afghanistan veterans as 'very' national assets, just like doctors, nurses, teachers, frefighters, and even above college graduates, lawyers and politicians.

The same study shows many Americans think the skills and leadership of Irag and Afghanistan veterans which they learned in the military can be “effectively applied to our communities.”

Veterans are, in fact, equipped with plenty of job and soft skills they acquired from their military training and these are the strengths they bring to the private jobs sector.

These are just some of the veterans' skills and strengths which can translate into management or executive jobs:
Discipline, leadership capabilities;
Team player;
Ability to work under pressure and meet deadlines;
Can get along with different types of people;
Skills in giving and following orders;
Planning and organizational skills

Veterans are trained for providing first aid, respond to emergency situations and ensure safety in the workplace. Thus, health and medical jobs are excellent options for veterans. These jobs are classified by the BLS Occupational Handbook as among the fastest growing occupations from 2014-2024. According to the latest employment situation report for January, the health care sector continued to get additional jobs numbering 37,000, and 24,000 of the added jobs were in hopsitals. The report also says 470,000 health care jobs were added over the past 12 months.

Another group of occupations veterans can enter into and where employers in these fields should take advanatge of veterans' invaluable skills, training and experience are the protective service occupations. These occupations are projected to grow 4 percent from 2014 to 2024, and result in about 153,900 new jobs.
The median annual wage for these jobs was $37,180 in May 2014. Some of these jobs include correctional officers and bailiffs, fire inspectors, private detectives and investigators, security guards and gaming surveillance officers.

What 2016 Holds for Veterans
On an optimistic note, it can be assumed that 2016 will find veterans still in good standing as many of them choose to join the competitive race for jobs. This is not to say the problems are going away – there are still huge challenges facing veterans individually and collectively. However, more and more veterans are buoyed by the government's efforts, in cooperation with the private sector, to boost employment opportunities for returning vets.

As employers come to live out the values of diversity and inclusion by hiring veterans, a lot can be done to save our heroes from the impending doom of poverty, homelessness and suicide deaths, as well as drive the national economy to greater growth.

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