For veterans and military spouses, unemployment remains a large issue. In October, the veteran unemployment rate was 3.2%, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. Furthermore, 3% of women veterans are unemployed, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. A 2017 Department of Defense report said a quarter of military spouses are unemployed. Military families report difficulty making ends meet at twice the rate of civilian families. But mortgage lender Better.com is adding itself to the ranks of companies implementing military hiring initiatives.
Better has announced it is teaming up with military hiring agency Shift.org. Over the next few months, it aims to bring 80 veterans on board. By 2025, it pledges to raise that number to 5,000 through hiring both veterans and military spouses.
Other companies, like Dell, Uber, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, HP Inc. (No. 45 on Fair360, formerly DiversityInc’s 2019 Top 50 Companies for Diversity) and Amazon (a Fair360, formerly DiversityInc 2019 Noteworthy Company) have recently pledged to make more military hires.
Better has locations in New York City; Charlotte, N.C.; and Costa Mesa and Oakland, Calif. This initiative will seek to hire at all four locations. According to its press release, Better will also be opening locations in Las Vegas, Kansas City and Honolulu.
A 2018 study found that only 17% of companies consider military veterans to be viable candidates. Companies often overlook veterans’ skills because their experiences in the military may not directly translate to the office. However, these skills are still often valuable, and veterans often bring distinct experiences to the table, Mike Slagh, founder and CEO of Shift.org, said in Better’s press release.
“Veterans gain incredible skills and experience during their service, but in the past it’s been a struggle to translate those into the skills that today’s employers need,” Slagh said. “But the truth is that military experience is a perfect fit for modern companies. Vets are able to solve problems with limited resources, adapt to change and keep calm under pressure. Vishal and the team at Better.com recognize these invaluable personal attributes. We know that their commitment to hiring veterans will have a transformative effect on Better.com’s culture.”
The transition from the culture of military to civilian workforce life can be a challenge for veterans. Because military families typically move every two to three years, spouses may experience difficulties keeping consistent jobs if their employers do not allow them to work remotely. Additionally, veterans may have years of hands-on experience, but they may lack degrees in specialized fields. Better announced job matching and veteran meetups to help veterans land positions and also said it was partnering with the site Skillist to help look beyond résumés in the hiring process.
“By sharing your perspective on how you’ve approached problems creatively, overcome obstacles and delivered results, we hope to understand who you are beyond how well you format your documents,” Arthur Matuszewski, Better’s Head of Human Resources said in a post. “You’ll be able to apply without a résumé for direct consideration for meaningfully impactful roles at the front lines of our business.”