Service Members in the Tech Workforce: Enhancing Workforce Inclusion

Service members can encounter unique challenges when interviewing for jobs, so we hosted a panel to learn how to best support this community.

Article By
Tatum Lynch

Every year, approximately 200,000 service members transition into the civilian workforce. However, they often encounter unique challenges when interviewing for jobs. Current and former service members typically don’t fit the mold, but this community is a pool of top talent that can be key to setting employers apart in the market.

We brought in current and former service members Trevor Ewigleben and Regina Miolan to discuss how employers can best support this community. Bonus: You can listen to our entire conversation at the end of this article.

Employers Must Implement Skills-Based Hiring 

Service members possess a wide range of skills that can significantly benefit employers. Their adaptability, critical thinking, collaboration, and problem-solving abilities are unmatched due to the unique challenges they face in the military. But these skills do not show up how most civilians are used to; they might not have a college degree or the experience employers are used to seeing. Employers must prioritize skills-based hiring over specific education or industry experience. 

Education and Awareness Are Key

When asked how employers can best support current and former service members, Regina and Trevor listed two pieces of advice. 

  1. Make An Effort to Understand Military Lingo. To expand their pipeline, recruiters must educate themselves on military acronyms and skills. It will help them fully understand their experience and assess whether they are right for the job.
  2. Build Relationships with Local Military Bases and Veterans Organizations. With relationships comes understanding. Employers that take the time to intentionally build relationships with these organizations will better understand service members’ needs and can address them more effectively. Conversely, this can also help the military understand what employers are looking for and better understand how to prepare service members for civilian life. 

Create a Supportive Culture

When asked what strategies employers should implement to support their community's mental health and well-being, Regina and Trevor’s answers were simple: provide a robust employee assistance program–with therapy–and encourage your employees to use it.  

If you’re going to talk the talk, you better walk the walk. It cannot just be a check-box.
Regina Miolan, Sr. Scrum Master/Agile Coach at Kroger Technology & Digital

Employers, ask yourselves: Have you created a culture where your employees feel encouraged to seek help and therapy when they need it? Are you giving them the flexibility in their schedule to attend therapy? Do you have an open-door policy? 

Final Thoughts

Service Members bring unique and valuable skills to the workplace. It is crucial employers look beyond the resume, make the effort to understand their skills and experiences, and provide the infrastructure that will make them feel supported.