Five Industries with Jobs that are Great for Veterans


May is Military Appreciation Month, a time to recognize the current and former members of the military. The month was designated by Congress to honor each branch of the armed services, along with their spouses. Each year, 200,000 service members transition to civilian life, according to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. When they do, finding a job is often a top priority.  For many corporations and industry sectors, military appreciation takes the form of recruiting veterans. 

How Veterans Define a Great Job

Companies that hire veterans must understand what they look for in a company. recommends focusing on four M’s: Mission, Momentum, Money and Mentorship.

Mission: people join the military for various reasons, but many are inspired by idealism. It follows that veterans find satisfaction with organizations whose mission is consistent with their personal values. 

Momentum: veterans don’t want to step backward in their careers after spending years in uniform. Employers must consider military experience rather than rigid job qualifications.

Money: after years in the service, veterans can be unsure of their worth in the labor market. Employers should be transparent regarding pay scales and benefits.

Mentorship: in the military, leadership means accomplishing the mission and taking care of your people. This dedication to the team is often lacking in the corporate world. Employers who are serious about developing veterans will dedicate resources to mentorship and leadership development.

Industries that are Great for Veterans

A 2019 veterans’ survey by Navy Federal Credit Union found similar priorities as those just noted. It shared the results with Hire Heroes USA, a nonprofit organization that places veterans in new careers. Hire Heroes then identified the following top industries that match veterans’ values:

1. Healthcare: this industry is a top match for veterans. It offers competitive salaries, a variety of opportunities and is a strong match for military experience. Because they work well with strict protocols, veterans are good candidates for healthcare careers. Even veterans with no patient care experience can join this industry. They can work in hospital operations, logistics, medical research or administration.

2. Government and Public Administration: one in four vets moves into government work after leaving the military. This career path is appealing because of the competitive salary, growth opportunities and skill set required. The federal government is required to give certain veterans preference when applying for jobs so veterans have an advantage. Popular career paths include program analysts, administration and public affairs.

3. Aerospace and Defense: it’s logical that the aerospace and defense industry would hire veterans with on-the-job experience using their technology. Service members can appraise and improve defense-related systems more efficiently than someone who does not understand the needs of the military. For veterans younger than 45, defense contracting is one of the most popular careers. This industry has good starting salaries and some popular career paths include analysts, intelligence specialists and quality assurance managers. 

4. Information Technology: a significant part of the country’s defense involves cybersecurity. A growing number of service members are trained for IT positions. Veterans with skills in operating digital equipment and networks, analyzing data, and building and maintaining computer systems can easily find civilian jobs. Of the 15 businesses with the highest rates of hiring veterans, one-third are in the IT field.

5. Insurance and Financial services: more than one in 10 younger vets chooses a financial services career. A path for advancement, training and development and competitive salaries are benefits of a financial services or insurance industry career. Popular career paths in financial services and insurance include accountants, analysts, licensed insurance agents or financial advisor. The insurance industry offers a variety of different types of insurance products to sell as well, such as P&C insurance, health insurance, life insurance and more, providing veterans with different options to choose from.  

Who Else is Hiring Veterans?

The industries mentioned above are popular choices for veterans. Service members entering the job market should also consider companies known for being vet-friendly. For example, SERVPRO, a leading cleanup and restoration company, was a recipient of the 2020 HIRE Vets Medallion Award from the U.S. Department of Labor. The award recognizes businesses that provide veteran-specific resources, such as hiring, retention and leadership programming.

For veterans who don’t see themselves in the industries listed above, there are other top careers identified by Hire Heroes USA.

1. Education: becoming an educator connects with veterans’ desire for a mission-driven environment. Teaching provides a team-oriented environment and an unchanging work location. To help veterans move into teaching careers, the Departments of Defense and Education founded the Troops to Teachers (TTT) Program. The TTT provides tools and resources for starting a teaching career. It encourages veterans to teach in low-income school districts.

2. Law Enforcement: Law Enforcement: with their experience working in teams and challenging situations, veterans are strong candidates for police work. According to Delaware gun shopsjoining law enforcement is most popular among veterans in the western US who left the service after 2000. Career paths include emergency dispatch, police officer, crime scene investigator and corrections officer.

3. Retail: flexible work schedules and a consistent work location are appealing aspects of this role. Employment in retail is highest among veterans who are 45 and older.

4. Manufacturing: for vets who are over 35 and do not have a college degree, manufacturing is the leading industry. This career provides a good salary, a consistent location and specialized training. 

5. Transportation/Warehousing: those who would rather work with their hands than sit at a desk choose this area. As with manufacturing, employees can advance with specialized training. Popular career paths include driver, warehouse manager and logistics/distribution manager.

Great Jobs for Veterans

During Military Appreciation Month, there are numerous observations for members of the military and their spouses. In some areas, retailers offer military appreciation discounts. While those are always welcome, other corporations show their thanks with programs to recruit and retain veterans. Veterans bring a unique blend of experience, leadership and experience to employers. Successful employers understand the need for orienting, training and mentoring these valued team members.

Businessner editorial team
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