More than 100,000 U.S. military veterans and spouses will be hired by Amazon over the next three years, the e-retail giant announced July 13. It expects more than 16,000 of that number will be military spouses.
“Amazon is focused on recruiting and developing military talent with training programs specifically designed to help veterans transition into roles in the private sector,” said John Quintas, Amazon’s director of global military affairs.
The announcement comes as employers struggle to fill vacancies. Baby Boomers are retiring in record numbers; mothers remain out of the workforce as they deal with a lack of childcare and resignations have hit a record high.
The COVID-19 pandemic has worsened the unemployment of military spouses, according to Stars and Stripes, which reported 40 percent lost their jobs during the height of the pandemic. Those spouses, it reported, already faced an unemployment rate six times higher than the national average.
Many employers are stepping up to help—and fill open positions. In 2021, 500 employers committed to recruiting, hiring, promoting and retaining military spouses by becoming partners in the U.S. Department of Labor’s Military Spouse Employment Partnership, according to the Military Times.
Amazon currently employs more than 40,000 veterans and military spouses, surpassing the company’s 2016 Joining Forces pledge to hire 25,000 veterans and military spouses by 2021, according to the company. Its affinity group, Warriors@Amazon, has more than 10,000 former service members and military spouses.
SHRM Online collected the following news stories and resources on employing military veterans and spouses.
In a Pandemic, Smart Companies Are Hiring Unflappable Military Veterans
It’s hard to throw Luis Penichet for a loop. The 27-year-old Marine Corps veteran acclimates to unusual situations quickly—he spent weeks sleeping in a 7-by-10-foot box in the African heat of Djibouti and led a logistical team in the freezing cold, snowy terrain of Norway during NATO exercises.
(New York Post)
Why HR Can Be a Good Fit for Veterans
Although no two military careers are exactly alike, soldiers often take on responsibilities that could translate well to HR, should that be where their interests lie. From the beginning of their service, many active military members are put in charge of large numbers of people.
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Many veterans agonize about finding post-service employment. They worry about whether their skills are transferable. They’re concerned about adapting to a new culture after serving in a unique institution that’s a largely transparent, hierarchical organization with a well-defined purpose and strict rules.
In recent years, however, the U.S. Department of Defense, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, nonprofits and private companies have worked to provide a smoother transition for those leaving the military.
(All Things Work)
Employer Guide to Hiring Veterans
This guide, updated May 2021, includes information about service member and veteran demographics; resources employers can use to facilitate veteran employment and recommendations on how to attract, train, and retain veterans.
(U.S. Department of Labor)
The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) has a Military Employment Resource Page with resources for HR professionals on employing individuals with a military background, including a toolkit. Another SHRM resource is HireVets, which helps employers identify candidates that best match their job descriptions.
Additionally, the SHRM Foundation launched The Veterans at Work Certificate Program, sponsored by Comcast NBC Universal, in November 2020. It is free and open to all HR professionals. SHRM-CP or SHRM-SCP credential-holders who take the program may receive 10 professional development credits toward recertification.
More Companies Commit to Hiring Military Spouses
As many military spouses struggle to maintain a meaningful career amidst repeated moves, defense and service officials and private organizations have attacked the decades-old problem of spouse unemployment from various sides. One of those solutions is to enter into partnerships with private employers who actively seek to hire military spouses.
Employers Share Veteran Hiring, Retention Strategies
At the Society for Human Resource Management’s INCLUSION 2020 virtual conference, HR and business leaders shared what their companies are doing to attract, hire and retain military veterans, transitioning service members and military spouses.
Chris Cortez, vice president of military affairs at Microsoft, said that to help veterans succeed, companies must shift from a veteran-friendly approach to being veteran-ready.