2014 Civilian Labor Market for Veteran Employment


2014 Civilian Labor Market for Veteran Employment
Part One – Trends & Predictions

In February 2014, the national unemployment rate stood at 6.7%. The most optimistic sources in U.S. military placed the veteran unemployment rate near or above the national average. This comes at a time when most of the 1 million veterans over the next 5 years who plan to leave the military will soon be entering the civilian workforce, (Source: Wall Street Journal), which will contribute to a rising veteran unemployment rate.

Many experts also predict that the Affordable Healthcare Act of 2014 will cause significant changes to employers’ hiring plans and practices. Past history has shown that most markets, including employment, don’t like all of the uncertainties surrounding reform on this level.

In 2014, full-time employment will be harder to land, which means larger companies will be more selective in their hiring. As employers get more selective, there will be more competition for a limited number of jobs. Employers are waiting to find cream-of-the-crop candidates to fill jobs and hire ideal candidates for leadership positions. Employers are also using technology to filter and test job applicants like never before. Suppliers who want to build automated solutions for employers in order to use social media to recruit qualified candidates will continue driving this trend. Jobvite.com recently reported that 94% of all employers now use social media to screen candidates for jobs. Look for this trend to continue and expand deeper within organizations.

Amidst change, challenge and workforce automation, basic realities will also factor into labor markets this year. Fortunately, productivity and growth are still tied to tangible work outcomes. And, while employers may delay hiring, they can’t afford to experience a decrease in work output or become unproductive.

Under Obamacare, many fiscal conservatives argue that employers will be less impacted by legislation and ultimately save money if they subcontract work out and hire more freelancers. One in three Americans currently does some type of contract, or project, work. In 2014, it’s safe to assume the freelance workforce will continue to grow. And if this level of growth continues, freelancing will become the new norm in the American workforce. Opinion leaders such as Forbes are already predicting there will be more contractors and consultants than full-time workers in six years. All of which indicates that demand for project, freelance and subcontract work will expand.

The demographics in the population of the American workforce will also command the attention of employers in 2014. We are entering a period of time in the U.S. when both largest and fastest age cohort of Baby Boomers hits the age of 62 and therefore begins to retire and exit from civilian jobs. According to the Society of HR Managers (SHRM), “68% of HR professionals believe the trend in boomer retirements will have a significant (and potentially lasting) impact on the U.S. workforce.” Millennials are coming of age and represent the opposite end, or incoming edge, of the spectrum. The oldest cohort of Millennials will be 30 years old this year. At 100 million in size, they currently represent 36% of the American workforce. They will no longer be satisfied with underemployment, taking a back seat to older co-workers nor deferring their opportunities for employment.

There continues to be a gap between supply of qualified professionals and demand for industry positions in certain areas of the job market, namely STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) careers. According to one source, American companies will need to fill over 1 million STEM jobs during the next 5 years or lose out to foreign competition.

In conclusion, you should not expect the civilian labor market to improve overnight. It will be a process and take time for employment to adapt to recovery and change. However, while employment will continue to be tight and spotty in 2014, opportunities still do exist. This is especially true when it comes to freelance work. And, even if the labor market does not experience new growth, retirements and demand for certain skills will continue to create job openings.

Next Up: Please look for Part Two in the 2014 Civilian Labor Market for Veteran Employment, which will help you plan and take advantage of more employment opportunities.

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