With veteran unemployment currently five times that of the national average, SMEs are being urged to consider the unique skills of veterans when recruiting new staff.
WithYouWithMe, the start-up helping veterans find employment through their unique program, has released its first Veteran Employment Report, providing a snapshot into the state of military to civilian employment transition.
The report found the unemployment rate to be more than five times higher than the national average. It went into the difficulties faced by thousands of veterans as they seek to move from service to civilian employment. Key data includes:
- The total veteran unemployment rate is 30.2 per cent, significantly higher than the national average of 5.9 per cent;
- On average, veterans take a 30 per cent pay cut when they transition from the military to a civilian job;
- 19 per cent of veterans are underemployed (not working in jobs that match their skills), compared with the national average of 8.5 per cent; and
Australian veterans are collectively underpaid more than $130 million, based on their skills and experience.
Co-founder and chief executive of WithYouWithMe, Tom Moore, says Australia's veterans are facing a highly uncertain future if action is not taken.
“I know from personal experience that one of the toughest aspects of leaving the Defence Force is finding a job. Many veterans don’t know what jobs they are capable of doing, and industry often doesn’t realise either,” says Mr Moore.
“This needs to change. We need to value the skills veterans have earned, open our doors to their unique experiences and work together to change their post-military prospects.
“We are at risk of entrenching a generation of veterans in unemployment or underemployment if we don’t commit to working together. As a first step, Australian businesses need to better recognise the skills of veterans and look to recruit them for more roles.”
The report has drawn on data from veterans on the WithYouWithMe program, along with data from the Department of Defence, Department of Veterans' Affairs and major research reports on veterans over the past five years.
With the nation pausing yesterday to mark Anzac Day, Mr Moore says the time is right for addressing this problem, and others, faced by Australian veterans.
“I believe the number one issue facing modern veterans is employment,” he says.
“This Anzac Day is an opportunity to reflect on how we can give back to those who have given so much in service to their country. We hope this is the beginning of a new conversation, one which we look forward to continuing as we push to create real and lasting change for veterans.”