A Veterans Day Reminder About Veterans Workplace Inclusion By Brian Hughes

Thursday, November 11th is Veterans Day, a U.S. federal holiday honoring military veterans. Veterans Day is also an opportunity for HR, Diversity and Business leaders to recognize the value, experience, and skills that veterans bring to the workplace. Hiring veterans is part of creating an inclusive culture.

Each year, about 250,000 service members transition into civilian life, according to data from the US Joint Chiefs of Staff. However, the move from active duty to the workplace can be difficult − 90% of veterans say they have faced challenges when looking for employment, according to a panel of veterans at SHRM’s recent Diversity & Inclusion Conference.

Does Your Diversity and Inclusion Strategy Include Veterans?

While most organizations may be aware of the competitive advantages of a diverse and inclusive workplace, many are not prepared to successfully attract, hire, and retain veterans. Veterans are often misunderstood by potential employers, who may assume, for example, that PTSD is common among service members. Educating and training managers on cultural competency, unconscious bias and diversity and inclusion can help address some of these misperceptions that left unchecked can interfere in the recruiting and hiring process.

The representation of veterans in the workplace has slightly improved over the last few years. That said, certain areas require immediate addressing, supported by businesses across the world. Here are a few metrics that illustrate why you need to find the best way to hire veterans.

  • The “jobless rate” for all veterans in the U.S. remained steady at 3.5% in 2018, while that for female veterans declined to 3%.
  • Unemployment rates vary widely from state to state, starting at 1.4% in Iowa, going up to as high as 6.5% in the District of Columbia.


America’s melting-pot society is reflected in today’s military. Smart companies include veterans in their diversity recruiting strategy to create a balanced workforce. The most recent data shows that nearly one-third (31 percent) of active duty members identified themselves as a racial minority, compared to data from 2010. That number grew from 31.4 percent of enlisted members and 22 percent of officers in 2010 to 32.7 percent of enlisted members and 23.5 percent of officers in 2018.


Veteran population projections from the Department of Veterans Affairs predict minority veteran groups to grow from 23.2 percent of the total veteran population in 2017, to 32.8 percent by 2037. Hispanic veterans are set to grow to 11.2 percent by 2037.


Women make up a growing percentage of active duty and Department of Defense civilian employees.  Companies that hire veterans gain a diverse workforce with a valuable array of advantages: tax breaks for hiring veterans, military occupational specialties, and soft skills that are becoming more sought-after by CEOs all the time.


A look at the racial and ethnic profile of active duty service members shows that while the majority of the military is non-Hispanic white, black and Hispanic adults represent sizable and growing shares of the armed forces. Fifty-seven percent of U.S. servicemembers are white, 16% are black and 16% are Hispanic, while 4% of all active duty personnel are Asian and an additional 6% identified as “other” or unknown.


Additionally, most veterans have worked with different populations across the globe during their service and bring a greater understanding of diverse cultures to the workplace. More than 200,000 veterans leave the armed forces annually, providing a pipeline of eager talent ready to take their skills and experience to the next level.

Veteran Diversity Recruiting and Inclusive Hiring Programs

Our work at Inclusive Leaders Group (ILG) helping to advance diversity and inclusion of veterans and disabled veterans, as well as other underrepresented groups that often face discrimination in hiring is highly rewarding!  While it’s clear that veterans have much to offer organizations, it requires planning and targeted programs to successfully recruit diverse service members. This includes recruiting, onboarding, and career development activities aimed at veterans. On-the-job training, internships, mentorships, and other resources tailored to veterans can also help ensure a smoother transition into the civilian workforce.


Inclusive Enterprise Podcast wanted to know what organizations are doing to proactively embrace, attract, hire, and retain veteran employees.  Three organizations enabling veterans to successfully transition from uniform to the workplace include The United States Department of Veterans Affairs – the VA, USVETS – a national advocacy organization, and Logicalis – an information and communications technology infrastructure and service provider and a significant employer of Veterans. All three are in different stages of their diversity, equity, and inclusion strategic journeys with efforts that positively impact veterans, businesses and the communities they serve.

Our guests include Mr. Harvey W. Johnson, Deputy Assistant Secretary, Resolution Management, Diversity and Inclusion for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Mr. Darryl J. Vincent, Chief Operating Officer at USVets, United States Veterans initiative, and Captain Ed Graves of the US Air Force, manager at Logicalis, US and President of the Logicalis’ largest employee resource group, the Military Personnel Employee Resource Group (MPERG)  includes those who currently serve or who have ever served in the United States Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, or Coast Guard, and now Spaceforce, whether on active duty, or in the National Guard, or military reserves.  We asked our three distinguished leaders who are dedicated to veterans inclusion in the workplace, to share their experiences and insights.

Listen and be inspired by Episode 12 How Your Diversity & Inclusion Strategy Should Include Veterans

Brian L. Hughes is Co-founder and Chief Strategy Officer of Inclusive Leaders Group, LLC, and focuses on expanding the firm’s offerings by delivering thought leadership and developing proprietary content, and he keeps the consulting team abreast of industry insights and trends. In addition, he is co-host of The INCLUSIVE ENTERPRISE Podcast that features transformational interviews as well as actionable tips and strategies that corporate leaders can implement in their workplaces and careers, to drive profitable growth through diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging.

Meeting you where you are with inclusion, insight, and inspiration ….Together, we can create a better world.


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