November 07, 2013

Higher Salaries for Veterans with Civilian Jobs in Same Career Field as Military Service, According to Accenture Research

Survey also shows veterans need help translating military skills and experience to civilian jobs

ARLINGTON, Va.; Nov. 7, 2013 – Veterans say their military service is the top factor in landing a civilian job, and those who secured positions in the same career field as their military service (74 percent) say they are earning $50,000 or more annually compared to those who chose to work in a different field (43 percent), according to a recent survey by Accenture (NYSE:ACN) of 1,000 employed and unemployed U.S. veterans.

Steve Rohleder, Health & Public Service group chief executive,
talks about Accenture’s work on veteran employment.

--- The survey also found that nearly three-out-of-four employed veterans (69 percent) said they received additional training or education following their military service, underscoring that the combination of military experience plus education and training have a critical impact on helping veterans find work.

As a total population, veterans have experienced lower unemployment than nonveterans for the past decade, according to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). And, veterans also out-earn their civilian counterparts. Research from the VA estimates that male veterans earn roughly 11 percent more than their civilian counterparts and female veterans about 19 percent more than non-veterans. Additionally, according to the Accenture survey, almost half of those with jobs (46 percent) said their salary increased when they made the transition to the civilian workforce.

Challenges Remain for Unemployed Veterans
But challenges exist for unemployed veterans, especially for younger ones who separated from the military more recently. Among the unemployed respondents in the survey, 70 percent of those who were deployed overseas said they had served in Iraq or Afghanistan or both, compared to about 50 percent of the employed veterans. In fact, data from the BLS shows that the average unemployment rate for post-9/11 veterans in 2012 was approximately 10 percent, about two points above the national average, and for unemployed veterans under the age of 25 it was closer to 20 percent. In some cases, unemployment is a hardship that impacts the whole family, as more than a quarter (26 percent) of the married jobless veterans surveyed also have an unemployed spouse. Despite the fact that the vast majority of unemployed veterans (96 percent) say they are willing to make sacrifices to get the job they want – such as accepting a position with lower pay or benefits, changing their occupation or going back to school – about a third (34 percent) said they have been looking for a job for more than a year.

“Veterans offer employers superior skills and an outstanding work ethic, and we’ve made a commitment to hiring them at Accenture,” said Stephen J. Rohleder, Accenture Health & Public Service group chief executive. “However, with 260,000 service members a year expected to separate from the military over the next four years, the national challenge will be helping them translate their military experience to private-sector jobs. This challenge is addressable if the government and companies work together to match veteran skills with employer needs.”

Adding to the challenge, more than a third (36 percent) of unemployed veterans surveyed said they were unsure how their military background translates to landing a job in the civilian workforce, and 32 percent said they are finding it difficult to know where to search for job openings. The unemployed survey participants said they had applied for 30 positions, on average, which led to just six interviews but no jobs.

“The reality is that many former members of the military are having a hard time searching for a civilian job,” said Joe Chenelle, who leads Accenture’s defense and intelligence agency business.” And there is a clear need for greater support and training programs from the private sector.”

To help meet this need, Accenture has developed Military Career Coach, an online tool to help veterans better translate their skills to civilian jobs, and the company is conducting employment workshops across the country, including at U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation Hiring Our Heroes job fairs. The workshops help former service members and their spouses with résumé writing, job searching, personal branding and employment interviewing. Through its “Hiring 500,000 Heroes” campaign, the Chamber hopes to secure commitments from businesses of all sizes to hire half a million veterans and military spouses by the end of 2014.

“Companies need to have an unwavering commitment to hiring former members of the military who bravely served their country,” added Chenelle. “Because, at the end of the day, one unemployed veteran is one too many.”

Learn more about Accenture’s careers for military professionals, defense work and its global program Delivering Public Service for the Future.

About the Survey
Accenture conducted a quantitative survey of 1,000 U.S. veterans, who separated from the military within the past 15 years, ages 18 and older. The survey interviewed 600 currently employed and 400 currently unemployed veterans to assess their opinions and attitudes toward their transition from the military to the civilian workforce. The survey included veterans from the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard and the National Guard, and included a mix of officers and enlisted personnel. The survey was fielded by phone and online by Penn Schoen Berland in Oct. 2013.

About Accenture
Accenture is a global management consulting, technology services and outsourcing company, with approximately 275,000 people serving clients in more than 120 countries. Combining unparalleled experience, comprehensive capabilities across all industries and business functions, and extensive research on the world’s most successful companies, Accenture collaborates with clients to help them become high-performance businesses and governments. The company generated net revenues of US$28.6 billion for the fiscal year ended Aug. 31, 2013. Its home page is

# # #


Joanne B. Giordano
+ 703 947 4860
+ 703 919 1288 (mobile)