For post 9-11 veterans, their experience is proving valuable in the transition to civilian life and the workplace.
By Debbie Bolla
It’s been more than 20 years since the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. This means that nearly one in five of today’s veterans served on active duty after those attacks. A report from Pew Research Center examines the many aspects of the transition to civilian life, including post-military employment, for this cohort.
Some good news: The majority of veterans say their deployment and experience has provided them with the skills and training they need for work. In fact, the research finds that 29% say it was very useful and another 29% say it was fairly useful. For commissioned officers, 78% cited their experience as helpful compared to 59% of noncommissioned officers and 54% of enlisted personnel.
Respondents also report their number of deployments has had an impact on their skills and experience. For 71% of veterans who were deployed three or more times, their military service was very or fairly useful in preparing them with the skills needed for a civilian job.
Access to employment varies. The research found that 25% of veterans say they had a civilian job right after they left the military. About half (48%) say they looked for one right away compared to 21% who took some time off before finding employment.
Military service is making a difference for 61% of post-9/11 veterans who found a job after leaving the military. Even further, 35% of veterans say it helped a lot. In contrast, 30% say their military service didn’t have a positive or negative impact.
Post-military jobs aren’t always a great fit. The report finds that 42% of respondents felt they were overqualified for their first job based on their skills, experience, and training. On the other hand, 46% say their qualifications were about right. In terms of retention, 56% of post-9/11 veterans stayed in civilian employment for more than one year while 44% stayed in their first job for a year or less.
When coworkers know and understand veteran status, it shows to have a positive impact. The report finds that six in 10 employed veterans whose coworkers are aware of their military service say they felt “looked up to” by others because of their experience. This sentiment is similar across eras. Among veterans who served prior to 9/11, 61% say they feel respected because of their military status; for post-9/11 veterans, it’s 58%.