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Survey: Job search harder for vets

Dec. 11, 2008 - 02:52PM   |   Last Updated: Dec. 11, 2008 - 02:52PM  |  
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Job searches that last six months or more are much more common for veterans leaving active duty than for non-veterans who are changing jobs, according to a survey conducted for CareerBuilder.com.

The survey, taken in August and September and released in November, found that the majority of people leaving active duty — 53 percent — found jobs in less than a month.

While many veterans appear to do well, some of the quick hiring may be the result of job searches that began long before they left the military.

If they don't find work right away, they can be in for a long haul — longer than the waits faced by non-veterans, said Alison Nawoj, spokeswoman for CareerBuilder.com, a site for job seekers and employers.

"Only 10 percent of civilians said it took them more than six months," compared to 16 percent of veterans who said it took them six months or more, Nawoj said.

Since the survey was completed, the nation's economic and employment situations have worsened, making it even harder for some people to land a job, Nawoj said.

"We don't know exactly how the economic situation has affected veterans, but I cannot imagine things have gotten better," she said. "It's safe to assume a downshifted economy would have a larger impact on the length of time it takes veterans to find employment after leaving active duty, as all job seekers are now facing a longer job search than in previous years."

The 2008 results are in line with those of a similar survey done in 2006, Nawoj said.

Then, nearly one in five veterans said it took them six months or longer to find a job after returning home, "and one in 10 said it took one year or more," she said.

The 750 veterans included in the survey cited a number of reasons for the problems they had finding jobs.

One of the biggest challenges is translating military skills into something prospective employers can understand.

The lack of a college degree, a poor job market in their hometowns and inexperience in applying for civilian jobs were other factors.

CareerBuilder.Com, based in Chicago, is partly owned by Gannett Co., Inc., which also owns the Military Times newspapers. The Tribune Co., The McClatchy Co. and Microsoft Corp. are other owners.

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