Workforce Readiness Alignment: The Relationship Between Job Preferences, Retention, and Earnings

Article is the third offering of the IVMF and USAA Workforce Readiness Research Series

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (Aug. 11, 2016) –  The Institute for Veterans and Military Families at Syracuse University (IVMF), in collaboration with USAA, today released the third installment of its Workforce Readiness Research Series. The paper addresses the complex and interrelated relationship between veteran job preferences, skills-matching and performance and positive career outcomes such as retention and earnings.

Workforce Readiness Alignment: The Relationship Between Job Preferences, Retention, and Earnings” provides a deeper analysis of veterans’ employment experiences post-separation; specifically, the long term benefits of aligning military-conferred skills with career goals and expectations. Findings from the paper confirm the duality of workforce readiness, defined in this series as, “the combination of what the veteran brings to the workplace and what the employer does to proactively help veterans succeed there.” The research draws on self-reported data from veteran employees in the civilian sector, highlighting ongoing challenges that veterans face when transitioning from military to civilian employment. The paper concludes with a comprehensive set of actionable recommendations for both employers and veteran job seekers. For employers, it is important to take a customized approach to veteran hiring, focusing more on skillsets than specialty areas, supporting mentorship programs and ensuring that employees and human resources professionals in particular are trained on military cultural competence in order to best understand military candidates and new veteran hires. Veteran job seekers should make every effort to explore pre-transition career resources and educational benefits, leverage mentorship and on-the-job-training programs and seek positions at veteran-friendly organizations, when possible.

According to Rosalinda Maury, director of Applied Research and Analytics at the IVMF, “Workforce readiness is an integral aspect of the veteran transition process – it’s about finding the right job fit for both the veteran and the employer, where veterans’ skills and career aspirations are understood, translated, and leveraged in the civilian workplace.”

As more employers commit more deeply to veteran hiring initiatives, we have seen an increased focus on sharing and promoting leading practices in veteran hiring and retention. We demonstrated in “Revisiting the Business Case and Strategy for Hiring a Veteran,” that there can be considerable value in hiring qualified veterans for employers. This paper makes the case for ensuring that these veteran hires have skills and career aspirations that are well-matched with employers’ needs, thus increasing job satisfaction, retention and other positive career outcomes.

“With approximately 200,000 service members transitioning into the civilian workforce each year over the next four years, it’s vital that both employers and veteran job seekers fully understand each other’s interests, needs, responsibilities and actions to align for mutual success,” said Mike Kelly, assistant vice president of Military Advocacy at USAA. “The latest in this series of veteran workforce readiness papers builds on the need to take a customized approach to veteran hiring.”

The paper is available in its entirety to read or download as a pdf.

Contact Wayne Westervelt, IVMF Director of Communications, at 315.443.5690; mobile 315.558.9483 or for more information or to schedule an interview.

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About the Institute for Veterans and Military Families (IVMF)
The IVMF is the first interdisciplinary national institute in higher education focused on the social, economic, education and policy issues impacting veterans and their families post-service. Through our focus on veteran-facing programming, research and policy, employment and employer support, and community engagement, the institute provides in-depth analysis of the challenges facing the veteran community, captures best practices and serves as a forum to facilitate new partnerships and strong relationships between the individuals and organizations committed to making a difference for veterans and military families. Learn more about IVMF.

About USAA
The USAA family of companies provides insurance, banking, investments, retirement products and advice to 11.5 million current and former members of the U.S. military and their families. Known for its legendary commitment to its members, USAA is consistently recognized for outstanding service, employee well-being and financial strength. USAA membership is open to all who are serving our nation in the U.S. military or have received a discharge type of Honorable – and their eligible family members. Founded in 1922, USAA is headquartered in San Antonio. For more information visit the USAA website, follow us on Facebook or Twitter (@USAA).

About the Workforce Readiness Briefs
The Institute for Veterans and Military Families (IVMF), as part of its broader employment research series, and with the generous financial support and collaboration of USAA, is exploring the topic of workforce readiness as it relates to transitioning service members and veterans in the civilian labor force. This paper marks the third in a series of short Workforce Readiness Briefs that will cover several related topics such as: understanding how the concept of workforce readiness applies to transitioning service members and veterans; examining interactions between career preferences, job matching, performance, and retention; exploring the links between financial readiness, spouse employment, and workforce readiness; employer perspectives on workforce readiness and key factors and practices that influence retention and job satisfaction among veteran employees.

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