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Where do veterans stand in today’s labor market? #stats

(BUSINESS NEWS) As 2016 comes to a close, with the recent observance of Veteran’s Day, how veterans have fared in the labor market provides an interesting picture of how their often untapped skills can be of benefit.

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Indeed dug into the data

When thinking about critical skills and attributes that you’re looking for in potential new hires, many employers forget to think about the host of opportunities that come by hiring a veteran of the U.S. armed forces. As 2016 comes to a close, with the recent observance of Veteran’s Day, how veterans have fared in the labor market provides an interesting picture of how their often untapped skills can be of benefit.

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Labor market stats

Composing 7.6 percent of the U.S. population according to the U.S. Census Bureau, veterans have a lower unemployment rate overall than their non-veteran peers. October unemployment rates have been lower for veterans since 2009. The recession, which caused spikes in unemployment rates for all segments of the population, caused an unemployment hike to 9.9 percent in January 2011 for veterans, which has since decreased to 4.9 percent. However, segments of the veteran population have seen variations in levels of employment rates for those seeking to join the workforce.

With overall veteran unemployment at 9.9 percent in January 2011, unemployment rates for Gulf War II veterans (those serving since September 2001) stood at 15.2 percent.

While younger workers can typically face higher levels of unemployment than their older, more skilled competitors, this outstripped the non-veteran rate, which was at 9.3 percent for this segment of the population. This has since improved. The unemployment rate for this segment of the veteran workforce is markedly lower than their non-veteran peers.

Although veterans are less likely than their non-veteran peers to have a bachelor’s degree, they outstrip them in average earnings. Veterans earn a higher median income by over $11,000 annually ($38,334 for veterans, as opposed to $27,248 for non-veterans).

Where vets have landed

Veterans typically seek employment in fields that match their military operational specialty (MOS), or which utilize the skills they were taught and used in their time in the service. Many veterans continue their service for the federal government in other capacities. Over 27 percent of the federal workforce in 2011 was composed of former service members.

As the employment needs of the civilian job market and the military do differ, several of these types of fields are predicted by the Bureau of Labor Statistics in their employment forecast to shrink over the next several years.

High-growth labor markets, such as healthcare, have a unique opportunity to transition their supports to hire veterans. For example, in 2011, President Obama called upon Community Health Centers to make an investment of hiring 8,000 veterans over the next three years. He additionally tasked the Health Resources and Services Administration to identify career paths for veterans and expand opportunities for veterans to become physician assistants.

As was the case with overall unemployment rates, job selection varies by the era of service and the sex of the veteran. Older veterans with dates of service from 1976-2000 were more likely to be employed in roles that were primarily computer-based or mathematical in orientation than their non-veteran peers. More recent veterans tend to find roles that more closely matched their military experiences. For veteran women, many selected healthcare roles, and exceed the rates of employment of their non-veteran peers in computer-based and mathematical roles.

Hard transition

Despite having lower unemployment rates, veterans still find many obstacles in their employment paths. The Center for Talent Innovation’s survey in Indeed asked whether employees felt supported by their supervisor. Nearly 20 percent of civilian men and 15 percent of civilian women in white-collar jobs felt their supervisor was an advocate and champion for their cause. Only 2 percent of veterans in similar roles felt the same.

Beyond feeling supported by their supervisors, an astounding majority of veterans identified that their skill sets weren’t being fully utilized. 67 percent said they had three or more skills that their current employer was not asking them to use in their roles.

Resources for employers

Speaking to Business Insider, Jon Davis, a retired Marine sergeant and current hiring manager identified reasons employers should hire military veterans. “When given a proper framework and adequate training veterans can amaze you at how hard they can work and what they can get done,” said Davis. “Few cultures have been engineered like the one military veterans have been a part of and even fewer … focuses entirely on mission achievement, cooperation, and personal development. The fact is that there is no culture in the world that shapes people in the way the military does,” Davis notes.

When seeking to hire veterans, the U.S. government provides resources to the veteran for their transition. They provide financial assistance for higher education, along with enhanced re-employment services for post-9/11 veterans through the Veteran Gold Card, allowing them six months of personalized case management and additional supports at their community work center. The Department of Defense’s Military Credentialing and Licensing Task Force was created to identify opportunities for veterans to earn civilian occupational credentials and licenses without the need for additional training.

Additionally, through Joining Forces, an initiative that serves the U.S. veteran through education, wellness, and employment services, multiple employers have stated their goal of hiring more than 100,000 veterans and their spouses over the next several years.

For the employer, the Returning Heroes Tax Credit, enacted in 2011, provides businesses that hire unemployed veterans with a credit of up to $5,600 per veteran. The Wounded Warriors Tax Credit offers businesses that hire veterans with service-connected disabilities a credit of up to $9,600 per veteran.

The most important thing employers can remember when identifying opportunities for veterans to serve in civilian capacities is that these individuals have been placed into high levels of responsibility, many from a young age, and are typically mission-oriented. While their transition may require support, as is necessary for onboarding any new employee, the outcomes may pay more immediate benefits.

#HireVeterans

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Roger is a Staff Writer at The American Genius and holds two Master's degrees, one in Education Leadership and another in Leadership Studies. In his spare time away from researching leadership retention and communication styles, he loves to watch baseball, especially the Red Sox!

Business News

The sad truths you missed about the US Women’s Soccer Team lawsuit

(NEWS) The US Women’s Soccer team dominated headlines by suing for equal pay, but there was so much more to the lawsuit that could have a ripple effect in the business world.

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Recently, on International Women’s Day, the United States Women’s Soccer Team (USWNT) filed a lawsuit against the US Soccer Federation. The timing of the suit is not only a sign of the team continuing their decades long fight against the organization (only three months before they are set to defend their World Cup title in France), but a recognition of the symbol that they have become in the larger battle that women and other minorities are waging in order to be given the same resources as the men leading in their fields.

It should go without saying that the women’s soccer team is unparalleled in its athletic success: over the past twenty years they have won three World Cup titles and four Olympic gold medals. These players, as ESPN acknowledges, are among the most accomplished and best known women athletes in the world.

Their counterpart, the Men’s National Soccer Team, leaves much to be desired (they failed to qualify for last year’s World Cup, for example) yet they consistently receive much more support from the US Soccer Federation.

Although the pay disparity between the USWNT and the male soccer team is certainly stark, the “gains” that the women athletes are fighting for go beyond monetary compensation.

According to Mashable, “This [suit] includes how women frequently play on a dangerous artificial surfaces when the men do not, fly commercial when the men travel by more convenient, comfortable charter flights, and the alleged allocation of fewer resources to promote women’s games compared to men’s.”

As if being the best players in your sport in the world and having to share hotel rooms after getting torn apart by the seams astroturf and receiving less-than-world-class medical care wouldn’t be infuriating enough, it’s truly this final point that highlights the glaring mistreatment of the USWNT.

Without support from the US Soccer Federation, not only in the form of payment but in promotion of their games and general good-will toward their players, the USWNT will not be able to grow their following so that they can establish a consistent revenue near what the men’s team attracts. This “lack” of revenue continues to create the chicken/egg excuse that the Federation has for not propping up the USWNT like they deserve.

It’s simply the opposite of “sportsmanship” for the US Soccer Federation to use these players’ love of playing the game (that, again, they are the best in the world at) and their country as a way to gaslight them into playing for less.

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Think about automating tasks instead of replacing workers

(BUSINESS) Automation is great, unless you obsess over it and try to cut down on payroll – there’s a smarter approach that successful businesses take.

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automating tasks not people

The concept of automating your workflow is a tempting one — especially as payroll continues to be one of the evergreen highest costs of business. However, in contemplating how to streamline your workflow, you may do better to step back from the idea of “replacing workers” and instead think about you can optimize your existing employees by strategically tweaking their workflow.

As Ravin Jesuthasan and John Boudreau write in The Harvard Business Review, if the goal of automating is to ensure that your company is operating at its most cost effective and efficient levels, then chances are you’d still need knowledgeable employees to help you scale and capitalize.

Where automation can truly help your business is by transforming the ability of your organization to focus on the tasks that truly require a human touch or deep knowledge. For example, automation will not help your employees perform complex, interactive, or creative work like collaborating with clients to come up with solutions or designs.

However, it can help the process of brainstorming or co-designing these solutions easier by replacing some of the mechanical tasks that aid this high-level workflow.

For example, it may be helpful to automate basic research tasks for your designers. If your designers must create a client profile to help them launch their projects — basic information must surely exist at some other point in the process before this point. Maybe your firm has an intake form or contracts where a basic description of the goal of the contracted service has been created. By automating the sharing of that data between departments, perhaps in a content management system, you’d be able to free up time that the designers might spend on basic data collection so that they could instead use it for their more complex, empathetic work.

Jesuthasan and Boudreau offer up other advice for thinking about which specific tasks within your company’s workflow are the best candidates for automation.

Is a task simple? Routine? Does it require collaboration?

These kinds of inquiry are not only useful when thinking about your organizational processes, but they are good refreshers for thinking about the individual value and skills that your organization and its workers offer clients.

So instead of looking at how to cut down on payroll, consider automation as an option to improve the value you’re getting from your team, and freeing them from mind-numbing tasks that have nothing to do with their expertise. Win-win!

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Megabrand, Amazon failing to support their working parent employees

(BUSINESS NEWS) Policies are changing at American companies to be up to par in supporting parents, but Amazon, despite being one of the most profitable companies in history, is not one of the evolving brands.

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Households in which both parents work is so much the norm in this country that we rarely ask new mothers if they’ll go back to work knowing it’s only a matter of when they’ll go back to work.

And once new mothers re-enter the workplace, the expectation of their time rarely changes to account for their new status as working mothers. Schedules change and so do childcare needs.

However, some progressive companies are changing their policies to accommodate their employees’ need for childcare, but Amazon isn’t one of them. Yet.

Dubbing themselves the Momazonians, a group of working mothers at Amazon is demanding that the online retail giant provide a back-up childcare benefit.

Back-up child care, for the uninitiated, is a perk that offers workers access to subsidized care for the times when school is closed, reliable childcare is temporarily unavailable, or in the event of sickness or emergency.

Why is this important? For starters, women who return to work shortly after giving birth are often left feeling unsupported and burdened by their choice to continue their careers instead of feeling empowered to enter into the next chapter or phase of their career.

Some companies believe that babies just aren’t good for business and once a woman makes the choice to expand her family, she’s often passed over for promotions or thought to no longer prioritize her career. Of course, these companies are wrong and that’s why it’s important for working mom’s to feel empowered to make their voices heard.

Will the Momazonians make any headway in getting the help they deserve? Time will tell.

They’ll be meeting in the next few weeks in an attempt to make a deal. However, whether or not Amazon complies with their demands, it’s worth thinking about for companies pondering parental policies in the future. As more and more millennials are marrying and having children later in life and thus further along in their careers, it would behoove companies to offer more flexible benefits to families. While it may seem cheaper to hire entry-level employees, in the long run, it’s more cost effective to hold onto experienced workers.

What’s more, while it’s incredibly difficult, if not impossible, to have it all, companies could make it easier to at least manage work-life balance better. When you offer mothers and fathers flex-time and work-from-home benefits, or even subsidized care, you are purchasing peace of mind and a peace-filled mind is a productive one.

Any woman who has gone back to work knows the hardest part of their day is dropping off their new little one in someone else’s care so why not make these transitions easier if it means holding on to experience? In the long term, it leads to employee retention. Children aren’t children forever and if they’re parents are offered support, those parents will probably perform better.

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