This week Canada and other countries from around the world observed Remembrance Day, or their own version of it. It was made even more poignant this year due to ongoing foreign strife and, closer to home, the recent tragic events in Ontario and Quebec. Although it can be difficult to derive meaning from something as destructive as war, I feel that we must at the very least recognize the sacrifice our military, veterans and humanitarian aid workers have contributed over the years. I take pride in my country’s reputation as fierce soldiers and brave peace keepers.
As it pertains to the labor market, I believe that employers should recognize and embrace veterans and reservists as highly skilled, valuable human resources. These men and women often exhibit strong decision making, fierce loyalty and strong moral character. Investment in these people can (and most often does) deliver very strong returns. Yet, our military men and women often struggle finding gainful employment that truly leverage their full experience. Reservists, in particular, find it difficult given the time commitments they must make for training and active duty.
If you happen to be a military vet or reservist AND a contractor, it is encouraging to note that there has been a trend (at least south of the border) towards hiring more ex-military personnel – mainly for science, technology, engineering and math related jobs. A recent article from the Staffing Industry Analystsalso suggests that 33 percent of US employers are actively recruiting veterans. This is the result of a program started a number of years ago, having companies pledge to increase hiring and training US vets returning from active duty. The USA often leads Canada in these programs and I personally support this program and encourage Canada to do the same.
Employers have the ability to support our military men and women through more than observing two minutes of silence every November 11th. We do this by ensuring they have jobs and careers beyond the call of duty. After all, this is part of what they are so valiantly protecting for the rest of us.