Every year, roughly 200,000 service members transition out of the military and into civilian life. Many start their job search soon after returning home. Finding a job can be difficult, though. Where do they even begin to look?
Meanwhile, during an era of increasing labor shortages, the construction industry struggles to find workers to fill in the gaps. The demand for skilled laborers and construction professionals grows stronger every day.
The ideal solution, then, is for construction companies to hire more veterans. Within this partnership lies great potential. Veterans, after all, have a lot to bring to the table. Check out these benefits of hiring veterans for your construction roles.
Generally, vets' work ethic is more focused than the typical civilian. In the military, they follow a strict schedule and work hard to meet standards and deadlines on a daily basis.
On a construction site, this might look like upholding safety standards, working overtime to complete projects promptly, and adhering to all rules and protocols. Often, this distinguishes them as a leader among their peers.
Veterans also work well as part of a team. While in the military, soldiers must rely on one another to overcome obstacles and even survive on the battlefield. By working together to complete certain tasks, they can accomplish so much more.
In the construction industry, the same is true. Many hands make light work and, when vets and their fellow workers strive toward a common goal, there's little they can't do.
Many vets leave the military with a wide range of skills – from underwater welding to operating heavy machinery. These skills often translate well into the construction industry.
In some cases, hiring veterans for construction means company owners and managers don't even need to invest much time training these skilled workers. Already, some of these new hires know how to handle tools, complete construction tasks, and finish a job within its deadline. This, of course, allows companies to save money and gain a knowledgeable worker.
Still, on a construction site, each new hire will likely need some sort of training to learn a specialized skill for the job. In this case, most veterans persevere and thrive in doing so. For example, to become a heavy equipment operator, they'll have to complete a certification course on the equipment they'll be manning.
Certifications for specific job roles can take hours to fulfill. This is why employers often look to invest in workers with a proven history of self-discipline. One of the benefits of hiring veterans is that they are inclined to rise to the challenge and discipline themselves to learn this new ability. They’ve already pushed themselves in their career and are used to focused training for a new skill set or duty.
In the field, soldiers learn to solve problems very early on. Out of necessity, they come up with solutions to seemingly insoluble problems and somehow find a way to accomplish the impossible. This typically happens when they think outside the box and flex their creative problem solving muscles.
Obviously, construction companies want this kind of vet on their teams because they'll constantly work to find a solution, even in the toughest, most hopeless of circumstances.
When their solution to a problem doesn't go as planned, vets won't get discouraged. Rather, they'll search tirelessly to find one that works and then implement it. This level of flexibility is sometimes less common among typical civilians, who may give up after the first failed attempt.
Moreover, they'll be more accepting of changes in scheduling, project timelines and other on-site details since they already know how to roll with the punches.
From uniform inspections to learning how to make a bed properly, the military teaches soldiers to pay attention to the most minute details. While they may not have enjoyed this conditioning while in basic training, their attention to detail and organizational skills serve them well now – especially when entering the construction industry.
Veterans often have difficulty transitioning into civilian life. However, by offering them a job, construction companies can give them a stable and successful career. While they learn new skills and receive training, they'll begin developing their careers and taking new paths within the industry.
From carpentry to plumbing, hiring veterans for construction roles may just point them in the direction of their long-term career. In the meantime, companies will have dedicated, hardworking employees on their teams that will support their success.
Holly Welles is a construction writer whose work is featured in Construction Executive, ConstructConnect and other industry publications. Learn more about her writing on her website, The Estate Update.