Wednesday, September 11, 2013

No Training, not Job Skills, Complaints about Vets

The Wall Street Journal ran a story titled Why Companies Aren't Getting the Employees They Need, written by an HR expert from Wharton. A few excerpts:

The staffing company ManpowerGroup reported that 52% of U.S. employers surveyed say they have difficulty filling positions because of talent shortages. But the problem is an illusion.

Companies are grousing that they can't find skilled workers. Employers are quick to lay blame. Schools aren't giving kids the right kind of training. The government isn't letting in enough high-skill immigrants. The list goes on and on.

But the real culprits are the employers themselves. With an abundance of workers to choose from, employers are demanding more of job candidates than ever before. They want prospective workers to be able to fill a role right away, without any training or ramp-up time.

Finding candidates to fit jobs is not like finding pistons to fit engines, where the requirements are precise and can't be varied. Only about 10% of the people in IT jobs during the Silicon Valley tech boom of the 1990s, for example, had IT-related degrees. While it might be great to have a Ph.D. graduate read your electrical meter, almost anyone with a little training could do the job pretty well.

American companies don't seem to do training anymore. Apprenticeship programs have largely disappeared, along with management-training programs. The shortage of opportunities to learn "on the job" skills helps explain the phenomenon of people queuing up for unpaid internships, in some cases even paying so they can work free to get access to valuable on-the-job experience.

In response to this Wall Street article, Matthew Collins, who once spent 10 years as a Marine Intelligence Officer (and is now an unemployed MBA student at St. Louis University) wrote a piece. A few excerpts:

Veterans are some of the hardest hit by this insanity. While I understand that it is difficult to translate military experience into the civilian job market, this is getting out of hand.

Reuters just ran a story that mentioned a medic who couldn't use his background to get a job as he would need two more years of school to get the same civilian medical qualifications he had in the military. I know one grunt with tours in Iraq and Afghanistan who bagged groceries for two years after he got out, then took a job as a defense contractor in Afghanistan. I recently applied for a job as a security guard, but didn't get it because I did not have the right credentials. I've carried a gun in Iraq, Afghanistan, and elsewhere, but I apparently need more training and licenses to carry one around an office building.

As the military draws down in Iraq and Afghanistan, more and more veterans are going to try to enter the workforce. The Department of Defense and others have said that defense cuts could raise unemployment another percent. If firms are going to continue to expect perfect candidates to emerge fully formed from Zeus's head like Athena, a lot more veterans are going to be filing for unemployment.

In response to Matthew Collins' post, someone wrote a comment who says that they left the Regular Army as a captain and went to work for a global corporation. He wrote that he had a bad experience hiring Vets, and blamed them.

  • Vets expect too much from the employer
  • Vets expect high praise for no accomplishments
  • Nearly all the Vets failed to learn how to manage their benefits
  • The typical Vet was not ready to work.
  • Their attitude and work ethic is lacking
  • Many of them had a standoffish attitude
  • Their work habits were focused on avoiding tasks

He offered this advise for Vets entering the civilian job market:

  • Don't copy your OER duty description or award bullets into your resume. It's lazy and we can tell.
  • Don't talk down to civilians who don't have military experience.
  • Have a good reason why you are leaving your military career. It can't be because you can't get promoted. We know how easy it is to get promoted and we don't want to hire a drone.

1 comment:

  1. I grew up in a household where my dad was a Korean vet and his dad was a WWII vet. My dad's brother enlisted as an MP for an easy chance in life and didn't amount to much after Vietnam. We expected to live on what we could work for, not what we could take for free. I worked for my school clothing just to be ridiculed by welfare recipients who wore name brand stuff their single mothers somehow got for them. After carpel tunnel syndrome, I became a private security operative. Security companies always had behavior problems with soldier vets not doing their job and aggrandizing themselves. They expected the American people to do everything for them and they struggle with anger and depression. Social phobia is a real problem for them and often they over react. They have conflict management issues. Critical thinking is another deficiency as they expect to be told what to do. In the current state, it's politically incorrect to even suggest they should not be allowed to carry firearms. Security companies just love to hand out armed details to vets too. The APA's DSM was changed to destigmatize combat soldier mental illness so the government wouldn't have "home grown combat vet vegetable farms" like they did after Vietnam. I grew up seeing my uncle vegetate. He stared at the loud TV smoking and quietly drank away the days. He had this slack jaw retarded look that was fixated vets call "the thousand yard stare" or "three click stare". My Granddad felt unforgiven and responsible for witnessing the horrors of two WWII tours. Often the new wave of vets are regarded as, "short trucking it" to the ranks of soldiers that are successful in the private sector. I've come to know when you meet a vet who was in a lesser leadership role for a very long time, it was because they did something to cause a problem. So that's all they could be for being a problem. When isolated in a job role, they tend to be even worse. They like to control people with socially implemented emotional restraints. I just get so tired of the private security industry being a mass vet dumping ground along with entry level government jobs that are meant for older high school level educated people who have life experiences that could greatly benefit the administration through civil service. Veterans love these jobs and often retire after 20+ years of working the same entry level civil service job that was not initially created for them. However, the vets who were a private non-employee status and in management were so objective focused to a clarity, it's hard to believe the contrast. I thank any military person for their excellence and not all are washed up. I just wish they all were successful and proud. The reality of the matter is people do what they set out to do. Something for nothing/success for determination.