Written by William & Mary Law Student Dominic Pino
In February of this year, this blog posted the discussion of “Serving Those Who Serve: More to be Done to Ease the Transition From Armed Service to Civilian Life for Post-9/11 Veterans”. In that post, the author discussed how current era veterans are having an increasingly difficult time finding employment post-deployment. According to the 2015 Veteran Economic Opportunity Report, approximately 53% of all Post-9/11 Veterans will face some period of unemployment after leaving service. As of March 2016, the estimated unemployment rate for Post-9/11 Veterans was 6.3% compared to a national unemployment rate of approximately 5.0%. As discussed in the February posting, one of the largest factors contributing to this inflated rate of veteran unemployment is the challenge in translating military work into civilian terms. According to a recent LA Times Article, despite 81% of military jobs having close civilian equivalents, many veterans are unable to translate their experience into job opportunities. While the US Department of Labor has acted to assist unemployed veterans with addressing this hurdle, specifically through the publication of their manual “How to Create and Effective Resume”, additional hurdles such as licensing and certifications add to the difficultly of veterans obtaining jobs related to their military service and experience.
In recognition of these issues, many independent private employers have taken similar action to assist veterans in transitioning into civilian life. One specific example of this comes from Starbucks. In March 2015, Starbucks announced a commitment to hire 10,000 veterans and military spouses by 2018. To date, they have hired over 6,500 veterans and military spouses. Forbes Magazine, in conjunction with Victory Media, released its 2016 Top 100 Military Friendly Companies list in November 2015. The factors taken into consideration to determine this list include long-term commitment to hiring former military, recruiting and hiring efforts and results, policies for Reserve and Guard members called to active duty, and the presence of special recruitment programs for military members and veterans.
The industry with the largest number of companies on the list was the “financial services” industry with 19 companies listed in the top 100, including Bank of America, Deloitte, KPMG, and PriceWaterhouseCoopers. Other industries with multiple companies ranked include Energy, Defense, Security and Corrections, along with Retail and Healthcare. According to Forbes, the top three military friendly companies are:
- Number 1: Combined Insurance
- Number 2: Booz Allen Hamilton
- Number 3: The United States Automobile Association
Combined Insurance has made a commitment to hire 2,500 more veterans by the end of 2017. Additionally, this year alone, over one-third of the company’s new hires have been veterans. Similarly, Boozy Allen Hamilton has made specific efforts to assist veterans in transitioning to civilian life and careers. Specifically, the company has created programs and forums to assist with career transitions and mentoring. Boozy Allen Hamilton also heavily hires veterans with over one-third of their employees having served in the military and 26% of new hires coming in 2015 being veterans. Finally, the United States Automobile Association has committed to have veterans fill at least 30% of their new hires. Additionally, during their recruitment process USAA provides preferential review for veterans and military spouses.
Other companies that made the list include: Verizon Wireless, AT&T, General Electric, The Home Depot, Capital One, Southwest, Goodyear, Waste Management, Hilton, McDonald’s, PNC, Wal-Mart, and Safeway. To see the full list, go to www.gijobs.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/GIJ.Dec14.TOP100MFE.LR_.pdf.
Other companies that just missed the top 100 but still were considered in the “1% of companies that have great programs and opportunities for veterans and spouses” include SAIC, Xerox, Sunoco, Amazon, and T-Mobile US. Amazon, in particular, hired more 2,600 veterans in 2014 alone and has joined the national efforts of Joining Forces and the 100,000 Jobs Mission to assist service members and their families in connecting with employers. Moreover, Amazon offers programs such as Amazon Warriors to assist hired veterans in furthering their careers and more easily adapting to the civilian workforce. Please note that government agencies and non-profit organizations were excluded from the rankings.
 Department of Veteran Affairs, 2015 Veteran Economic Opportunity Report, (April 16, 2016), http://www.benefits.va.gov/benefits/docs/VeteranEconomicOpportunityReport2015.PDF.
 David Zucchino, Unemployment is a special challenge for veterans, LA Times, (April 25, 2012).
 Veterans and Military Support, http://www.starbucks.com/responsibility/community/veterans.
 Kathryn Dill, The Top 100 Military Friendly Employers, Forbes, (November 10, 2015), http://forbes.com/sites/kathryndill/2015/11/10/the-top-1000-military-friendly-employers-for-2016/#eb8eea831679.
 See Id.