If you are familiar with AgCareers.com, you likely know about our Ag Warriors program devoted to encouraging agricultural employers to actively seek and hire military veterans. You may have also attended our 2015 Roundtable which featured a military recruitment add-on workshop. While we think that military veterans are valuable assets to the agricultural industry due to their skills and qualities gained through military service, it seems that many agricultural employers are unaware of this untapped potential.
Luke Vance, a sergeant in the Army Reserves and a contractor with DuPont Pioneer, has mixed feelings about the receptiveness of the agricultural industry toward recruiting and hiring military veterans.
“I think that the agricultural community has been somewhat receptive to veterans. I don’t feel that the ag community is that proactive about going out and recruiting veterans, maybe out of fear of veterans leaving again,” said Vance.
In preliminary results of the AgCareers.com Military Professionals & Veterans in the Agricultural Workplace, more than 50% of participating agricultural employers actually said that their “lack of agricultural experience” was the biggest barrier to hiring military veterans (although 48% of military veterans responding answered that they had agricultural education and 80% responded that they had experience working in agriculture). 32% of employers did say, however, that a military veteran on staff had had to take a significant time off (more than two weeks) of work due to military commitments.
“The flexibility to go to annual training seems to always be a point of contention for some veterans,” Vance said. “I can speak to my side of things. I would always give the notice well in advance but you still get the ‘rolled eyes.'”
When veterans were asked about their employers’ willingness to allow time off for military commitments, 35% neither agreed nor disagreed that employers were okay with it. 31% agreed that they were willing. Veterans want employers to know, however, that they are highly reliable. The three attributes that military veterans responding to the survey said that they bring to the workplace include discipline, accountability, and loyalty. More than 50%, however, said that their employer and coworkers had a difficult time relating to them due to their military background.
In order to change these figures, the agricultural industry should make strides toward welcoming more military veterans into their workplaces and reaping the many benefits that a veteran brings.
“I think the Ag industry can be a great industry to work in,” Vance said. “I feel it’s the passion that some have and the sense of team within some companies that veterans can relate to.”
What are your thoughts? Sound off in the Military Professionals & Veterans in the Agricultural Workplace survey, still open for another two weeks. Share your thoughts about recruiting military veterans into agriculture and any experience that you have had for a chance to win one of three Maximum Posting Exposure job postings on AgCareers.com.