Members of the military play a critical role in protecting our country. They also have transferable skills that can benefit the construction industry, which desperately needs more workers. However, as of 2020, only 5.9% of the field was made up of veterans. Here are some of the reasons why employers should hire more of them.
1. They Have Strong Leadership Skills
The military uses a hierarchical system, so those moving up learn what it takes to lead a team. Veterans use communication skills to inspire people to reach a common goal and make quick decisions under pressure.
Veterans also don't give up easily since they are used to high stakes. The building industry needs leaders to ensure projects are completed on time. In fact, 17.4% of veterans work in management, business or financial operations.
2. They Are Excellent Team Players
Everyone in the armed forces knows their role and works together. Veterans understand how to take orders and make sacrifices for the common good. They also used to work with diverse groups of people and are more open to trusting others.
These skills are essential in the construction business. To build a stable property, contractors need to be on the same page.
3. They Can Adapt Quickly
Service in the military can be unpredictable, so veterans have learned to be more flexible. They can handle sudden changes and pick up new information quickly. In fact, adaptability is one of the top skills companies need the most.
Businesses are rapidly evolving thanks to new technology. Artificial Intelligence (AI) is gaining momentum in the construction industry, and it can help project managers efficiently plan and schedule tasks.
Flexibility is also critical in this field since projects often shift direction. For example, contractors might need to reorder materials due to changing client expectations.
4. They Are Self-Motivated
Veterans are accustomed to exercising high levels of discipline during drills. Everyone needs to hold themselves accountable for missions to be successful. In addition, veterans require less supervision and will see a project through.
They might even find creative solutions to problems. Also, their determination could inspire other crew members to work harder. Having self-discipline is an important trait when dealing with tight deadlines.
5. They Are Reliable
Veterans understand their actions impact others. With this mindset, they are better at taking accountability. When unexpected situations arise, they may be more likely to own their mistakes.
Another reason veterans are assets to employers is they understand commitment. Many veterans work for longer periods despite the challenges. For example, a person has to serve 20 years to receive their veteran status by the National Guard.
6. They Have Good Organization Skills
Many business procedures involve careful planning and workload management. When constructing a property, there are multiple moving parts. Managers need to order supplies, meet with clients and create the design blueprints. Likewise, veterans are used to thinking strategically when planning for missions.
They are also good at building relationships since they work in a team environment. Being personable is essential when working with vendors, clients and other crew members.
7. They Have a Task-Oriented Mindset
The construction industry and the military have things in common. In the army, members of the military prepare for their assignments regardless of the obstacles. In construction, this is a necessary mindset to have. Contractors should focus on the goal and anticipate issues, such as budget restrictions.
A construction site runs smoothly when everyone is working toward completing the project. So, veterans will thrive in this type of environment, as opposed to a more corporate setting.
8. They Know How to Operate Heavy Machinery
Veterans are used to working with advanced machineries, such as bulldozers or cranes. This equipment is also used in construction to prepare the foundation for a new home. A veteran's knowledge of operating and maintenance procedures is a valuable asset. Regular upkeep of machinery allows it to last longer and reduces long-term expenses. Plus, veterans already understand the safety precautions and their importance.
9. Employers Can Help Them Transition to Civilian Life
Veterans can face unique challenges after leaving the service. They may find it difficult to adjust to a more competitive work environment. Some might miss the bonds they formed with other soldiers.
Finding employment is another challenge for retired veterans. Some employers could be concerned about their mental stability. However, by hiring a veteran, they can help make their transition easier. It also provides them with a familiar setting where their skills can shine through.
10. They Can Meet Deadlines
The ability to meet deadlines is essential in most industries. However, in construction, often, these target dates are more rigid. For example, a client may expect a renovation to be done before they move in. Veterans are used to completing tasks under time constraints and stressful conditions.
How to Attract Veterans to the Industry
With increasing property demand, construction businesses will need to hire 430,000 more workers. Since veterans offer employers many benefits, they should consider these strategies to attract more employees.
1. Work With Organizations Supporting Veterans
Employers can reach out to organizations already connecting with veterans. They can use programs’ platforms to post open positions. Veterans Build America and Helmets to Hardhats are two well-known nonprofits. Companies can also reach out to the local legion or military office for more resources.
2. Promote Training and Education Opportunities
Companies should give veterans chances to grow in their careers and learn new skills. The idea of gaining professional development can appeal to them. In the military, career advancement is already built into the structure.
3. Offer a Work-Life Balance
A career in the army can be rewarding but also lonely at times. Many veterans miss out on family time while deployed, so offering a more flexible schedule can help entice more people to apply. Encouraging employees to take breaks is one way to promote a better work-life balance.
4. Develop a Strong Work Culture
Many veterans spent lots of time with the other soldiers, creating a family culture. To appeal to them, employers should display a similar environment with their company. They can take advantage of social media to post pictures from team-building events.
5. Highlight Benefits
Most people look for a comprehensive benefits package. To encourage veterans to apply, companies should promote their retirement plans or bonuses.
How Veterans Can Help the Construction Industry
Veterans have many transferable and soft skills the construction sector needs. They are also used to working under pressure and in a team environment. As labor shortages continue, contractors should consider hiring a veteran and benefiting from all they have to offer.