Military Experience Gives Veterans Edge in Workplace

EY Survey of 1,000 Military Veterans in Civilian Workforce Shows Veterans Develop Valuable Skills in Military and Benefit from Ongoing Workplace Support Programs.

EY last week released a national survey of 1,000 U.S. military veterans with full-time employment examining how the military prepared them for entering and succeeding in the civilian workforce.


The Veterans Day poll reveals that veterans with full-time jobs report high levels of satisfaction, and overall, see their military service as an advantage in the workplace, instilling them with a strong work ethic and teamwork abilities. While the new findings show veterans are thriving in the workplace overall, many feel that the military did not prepare them for how to negotiate pay raises and promotions and skills such as problem solving, effective communication and writing. The results show that for veterans, ongoing in-work programs or special assistance is beneficial to their success in the workplace; however, the representative sample revealed many U.S. veterans have limited access to them.

A full breakdown of the findings is availablehere.

“A key component of bringing our purpose to life is an emphatic belief that diverse teams make the world work better for our people, our clients and our communities,” said Steve Howe, EY US Chairman and Americas Managing Partner. “Veterans not only bring a unique set of experiences and skills, but a desire to focus their skills on a cause greater than themselves. We couldn’t be prouder to be building a better working world with our veterans.”

“At EY, our people are our greatest asset which is why we’re dedicated to leveraging and promoting the valuable skills and experiences veterans bring to the table,” said Carolyn Slaski, EY Vice Chair Americas Talent. “In fact, our survey found that teamwork abilities and strong work ethic are just some of the unique skills our veterans develop in the military. Unique skills and perspectives are the backbone of our inclusive and high-performance teaming culture, and we look forward to continuing to unlock the diverse perspective that our veterans bring to EY.”

In June 2010, EY launched its Veterans Network which supports veterans in their career development and their transition from the military to civilian life. Since its inception, it has grown to more than 800 individuals with representation throughout EY service lines and regions in over 50 cities across the US. Every US branch of service (Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force and Coast Guard), as well as foreign veterans and non-veteran supporters from all corners of the firm are represented. Participants attend events, networking functions, community projects and other initiatives.

EY reaffirmed its commitment to supporting veterans earlier this month when it signed the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR) Statement, pledging to support EY employees in the National Guard, Active Reserve and Veterans communities.

Key takeaways from the poll include:

Overwhelmingly, the poll shows that both recent and older veterans are satisfied in their current jobs and consider their military experience to be an overall advantage in the workplace.

  • 88 percentof full-time employed veterans surveyed are satisfied with their current jobs.
  • 82 percentthink that their military experience gives them an advantage in the workplace.

Veterans find in-work programs or special assistance beneficial to their transition from the military to civilian workforce.

  • 82 percentsaid in-work programs were beneficial, and45 percentsay they’re very beneficial.
  • Of the veterans polled, less than50 percentreported that they had access to these programs.

Veterans believe the military taught them a strong work ethic and teamwork abilities, but problem solving and effective communications skills were much less developed while on active duty.

  • 71 percentof veterans say that the military prepared them well to work on a team and68 percentsay they developed a strong work ethic on duty.
  • Afterwork ethic, veterans consider effective communication and problem solving to be the most important skills for their current roles, with75 percentand73 percentsaying these respective skills are very important.However, this does not correspond to the skills veterans cite they most developed while on active duty (work ethic and teamwork).
  • Of those surveyed,61 percentreport developing problem solving skills in the military, and only57 percentreport developing effective communication which are comparatively low in terms of skills prepared.

When it comes to more technical skills, veterans most use management skills, verbal communication and writing skills in their job. And while they feel most prepared by the military for management and verbal communications skills, they do not consider themselves as prepared on writing skills, comparatively.

  • The three most used skills in the workplace of veterans surveyed are verbal communication skills, management skills and writing skills (64 percent, 54 percent and 49 percent,respectively).
  • 47 percentsay they learned management skills and43 percentsay they learned verbal communication skills while serving in the military. But only23 percentsay they developed writing skills while serving in the military.

The veterans surveyed believe that their military experience helped develop interpersonal skills far beyond their colleagues’ abilities, but feel less prepared to negotiate promotions or pay increases.

  • 91 percentsay the military prepared them well to get along with their superiors, and92 percentto get along with their coworkers. Of veterans surveyed,90 and 89 percentfeel more prepared than their non-military colleagues in these areas, respectively.
  • In contrast, only56 percentsay the military prepared them to negotiate promotions, and only49 percentsay the military prepared them to negotiate pay increases.

One out of four recent veterans believe that employers could work to better understand veterans and their unique skillsets and challenges, providing more in-work programs or support.


SKDKnickerbocker conducted a survey of 1,000 full-time employed veterans in the United States on behalf of EY. SKDK polled 800 full-time employed veterans, and 200 additional full-time employed veterans from the Gulf War II era (2001-present). The final data is representative of employed veterans. The survey was conducted October 19-25, 2016, and has a margin of error of +/- 2.94% for full-time employed veterans, and +/- 4.56% for full-time employed Gulf War II era veterans.

The EY Veterans Network

Established in June 2010, theEY Veterans Networksupports veterans in their career development and their transition from the military to civilian life. Doubling its participation yet again in the past fiscal year, the network has rapidly grown to over 800 members. It has also transformed from a local community to a national group, with representation throughout Ernst & Young LLP service lines and regions in over 50 cities across the US. Every US branch of service (Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force and Coast Guard) as well as foreign veterans and non-veteran supporters from all corners of the firm are represented. Participants attend events, networking functions, community projects and other initiatives. The network has also instituted a peer mentoring program, which pairs veteran new hires with veteran peer advisors to serve as a resource and sounding board to help ease the transition from military to civilian life and ensure EY’s veterans are both personally and professionally successful.

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