Veterans and Employment
When it comes to talking about veteran employment, most of the news is good news. For example, according to data published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics in 2021, unemployment rates in veterans are lower than they are for non-veterans (6.5% compared to 8%), a trend that held true across all major race and ethnicity groups. This is thanks in large part to concerted efforts of the federal government to increase opportunities and implement veteran employment programs for service members after they leave the military.
However, that’s not to say that the issue of veterans’ employment is entirely without its problems. In spite of their low unemployment rate, many veterans still struggle to get jobs as a result of factors such as disability, lack of professional training, and difficulty reintegrating into civilian life. Recently, one of the biggest issues when it comes to veteran employment is the tendency of veterans to fall into jobs that underutilize their skills or do not provide enough work, a phenomenon referred to as underemployment.
Underemployment: Causes and Consequences
Underemployment doesn’t exclusively affect veterans, but it is observed at much higher rates among veterans than among civilians. A report released by LinkedIn observed that in 2017, veterans were 38% more likely to be underemployed than non-veterans.
The reasons underpinning this pattern are complex, but most of them can be traced back to veterans’ military service. While many veterans have useful and translatable skills, they may not have the appropriate licensure or credentials to practice those skills in the civilian world. Employers may also have a difficult time understanding how veterans’ skill sets and expertise are applicable in a non-military setting. Further, due to deployments or the highly mobile military lifestyle, veterans may lack the professional networks that are often crucial to landing a job in today’s world.
As a result, veterans often land in jobs that are beneath their skill level and that pay lower wages. This means that they may experience setbacks in professional advancement, or may feel frustrated or unfulfilled by the lack of meaningful work opportunities. Further, veterans earning low wages may be at greater risk for economic insecurity, which can in turn increase their chances of becoming homeless.
You can make a difference for homeless veterans by supporting organizations that provide veteran housing. National Veterans Homeless Support seeks to eliminate homelessness among veterans in Central Florida and nationwide. NVHS takes a proactive, intervention-based approach to homelessness by meeting homeless veterans where they are and helping them from there. Through programs like Search and Rescue Outreach, NVHS helps homeless veterans get the supplies they need to survive, connects them with support and resources, and helps them transition off the streets and into temporary or permanent housing. If you’re able, consider supporting our mission by donating or signing on as a volunteer.