Skilled veterans could be a way out of the tech shortage

A message from
Jason Pak, Director of Veterans Outreach, Boeing Global Engagement
Jason Pak, Director of Veterans Outreach, Boeing Global Engagement

Military veterans have a unique set of skills that could help companies fill their tech roles. Jason Pak, director of veterans outreach for Boeing Global Engagement and Dr. Mike Haynie, founder and executive director at Syracuse University’s Institute for Veterans and Military Families explains their organizations’ work in boosting veteran employment.

1. First things first: Why do veterans make great tech employees?

MH: Military experience exposes individuals to highly advanced technology and technology training at an accelerated rate compared to non-military peers. Military veterans also make the most of that knowledge by effectively leveraging knowledge across disparate work-related tasks.

2. Why it’s important: What does the tech hiring landscape look like currently? How has the tech shortage impacted technology companies like Boeing? 

JP: The aerospace and defense industry is competitive. Digital transformation across multiple industries means companies are looking for the same talent as Boeing, even if they aren’t in the same industry. We continue to invest in the development of our team members and leverage a variety of development programs.  

3. The background: What skills do veterans have that make them valuable to employers, especially in the tech industry? 

MH: Syracuse University’s Institute of Veterans and Military Families’ (IVMF) research — A Business Case for Hiring Veterans — points out veterans are entrepreneurial. Military veterans are twice more likely than non-veterans to pursue business ownership, and the five-year success rate of ventures owned by veterans is significantly higher than the national average. This means that veterans: 

  • Are adaptable, trained leaders that thrive in a team environment. 
  • Have high levels of trust with teammates and easily identify opportunities to transfer skill sets.
  • Are highly accepting of individual differences in a work-setting and exhibit a high-level of cultural sensitivity.

4. What this means: How many veterans has Boeing hired to fill critical roles?

JP: Veterans make up around 15% of our workforce. We are continually working to hire veterans and their families. Military talent has been a part of our culture for more than a hundred years. We are honored that tens of thousands of men and women who selflessly served their country have made and continue to make Boeing their next mission. 

5. Key numbers: How many military veterans re-enter civilian life every year? Could these veterans help fill the tech shortage? 

MH: DoD reports that 250,000 people — which includes the National Guard — transition out of the military annually. These veterans and military spouses can certainly fill the tech shortage.

The reason: “New collar” workers focus on professional certification programs leading to employment versus longer, traditional routes. Those transitioning out of the military hit the pipeline quicker, keeping pace with the rapid development of technology.

6. Here’s how: What are some effective ways to recruit veteran talent? 

MH: The most effective way to recruit veterans is to understand their experience and then show them a path to a long-term career.

Many service members are used to knowing what it takes to advance in the military — time in service, time in rank, education requirements, and more. They may not understand this career map on the civilian side. 

  • Training is another effective way to compete for the best talent. By building relationships with organizations like IVMF, companies can offer additional education and training opportunities.

7. Next steps: What is Boeing doing to boost veteran employment in the U.S.? 

JP: We support employment readiness programs for transitioning service members and their spouses, including: 

  • A partnership with Syracuse University’s Institute of Veterans and Military Families (IVMF) to create Future Force, a training, recruitment, and placement program for veterans and military spouses interested in the aerospace and defense industry.
  • Partnering with DoD to be part of its Skillbridge program which provides transitioning service members internships during their last 180 days of service. 
  • Participating in military career fairs, conducting quarterly outreach to military bases, and hosting resume writing and interview trainings to help veterans.

We continually review our offerings to ensure the most competitive benefits packages.

8. The takeaway: How have veterans been critical to Boeing’s success as a leader in aerospace products and services?

JP: Veterans are a critical part of Boeing’s workforce. Veterans offer invaluable perspectives as our company continues to expand its product line and services to meet emerging customer needs. 

  • From Boeing’s first U.S. Navy contract for Model C seaplanes in 1917 to the company’s #3 ranking on the 2021 DiversityInc Top Companies for Veterans list, Boeing has a long, proud history of supporting members of the military and their families.

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