What Will Veterans Do For Jobs When the Defense Industry Collapses?
When you look at the 2012
lists of who was hiring veterans, you’ll find an impressive array
of companies where the leaders are defense contractors. If you’re a veteran, you
may work for them already and most likely know at least a dozen or so other
veterans that currently do.
However, if you’re paying attention to the headlines, there’s a problem on the horizon: with massive federal spending cuts looming over the defense industry, what will happen to the military industrial complex and the veterans
they hire for their contracts? If you live under a rock, you may have missed one potential disastrous outcome of the fiscal cliff when Leon Panetta almost put 800,000 defense employees on unpaid furlough. While it didn’t happen, this posturing should be taken as a very serious warning to returning veterans on the job hunt: defense hiring will slow to a crawl, if not completely stop, indefinitely. So what is a veteran to do when the cuts come?
Finance: The Veterans on Wall Street initiative is dedicated to hiring military veterans, reservists and members of the National Guard for careers in finance. Goldman Sachs is one participating company and started the Veteran Integration
Program in 2012, which selects veteran candidates for an eight-week internship at the company (word on the street is that ALL interns from last year were offered full-time jobs). They also pledged $20 million dollars over a five-year period to fund non-profits that help veterans integrate into civilian life.
Technology: Cisco Systems, in concert with 80 additional companies (Click for full list: here), committed to hire over
100,000 returning military veterans by 2020. As of September 2012, Cisco and these companies hired over 28,000 veterans and are aggressively involved in cloud-based hiring platforms and Cisco certification education. Having a certification in Cisco CCIE Routing and Switching can command an average salary of $93,500.
Retail: You think 28,000 hires from over 80 companies in one year is impressive? How about over 3,500 hires in one year,
by one company? You read that right. In 2012, Sears, Roebuck & Co hired 3,753 veterans in 2012 and their goal is to hire over 5,000 in 2013. In addition to looking out for veterans, they have programs for military spouses too. With their “Permanent Change of Station (PCS) Promise“, if a service-member is PCS’ing and the spouse works for Sears, the Illinois-based company
will find a new job at the closest Sears-owned company at the family’s new PCS location. According to Tom Aiello, a Sears Division VP (and Army Veteran), in order to be committed to hiring veterans, companies must look beyond the standard “initiative” and ensure that companies maintain senior-level support for long-term veteran hiring. Moreover, educating their corporate recruiters on how to look at talent beyond the resume is critical to hiring veterans too.
From the looks of things, companies like Goldman, Cisco and Sears are preparing to receive the influx of applications from returning veterans resulting from the defense industry hiring collapse. After the dust settles from this mess and while the defense industry picks up the pieces after the fallout, it looks like there’s a silver-lining for veterans after all because according
to Mr. Aiello, a potential veteran candidate [for Sears] is “more likely than the average candidate to get a job offer”.
If other non-defense industry companies follow their cue, 2013 could be a very good year for veterans on the job hunt.