Hiring Heroes: Why Veterans Make Great Tech Employees
Fast Company|Summer 2021
Military veterans come with the soft skills employers value most, and many have backgrounds in technology

Prior to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the U.S. unemployment rate was at a 50-year low. Competition for talent was intense, nowhere more so than in the technology sector. Even after the pandemic hit, more than half of businesses polled for the Harvey Nash/KPMG CIO Survey said they still faced a technology skills shortage. As the economy heats back up, employers will struggle to land the best-qualified workers. Military veterans are a valuable resource they should not overlook.

“More than 200,000 veterans enter civilian life each year, swelling the talent pool with candidates who’ve acquired core military skills, such as leadership and the ability to foster teamwork and put mission over self,” says Hari Kolam, CEO of Findem, which uses an AI-powered platform to help companies build better workforces. “Chances are veterans have picked up tech skills in any positions they held.”

The value that military veterans bring as employees comes as no surprise to companies such as Boeing, which has been tapping this resource for years. “Veterans are not only critical to Boeing’s success, but we also bring technical skills, diverse viewpoints, and unique experiences that make us valuable resources for other employers,” says U.S. Army veteran and West Point alum Jason Pak, director, Boeing Global Engagement.

GOOD MATCH FOR TECH JOBS

Military service often makes veterans uniquely well-suited for work in the technology sector, he adds. They are forward-thinking and resilient, agile and entrepreneurial, and great at teamwork. “They are used to using cutting-edge technology that is at the forefront of capability, and they are used to testing that capability in high-stress situations,” Pak notes.

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