US businesses, veterans, digital skills gap
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US businesses are calling in reinforcements to fill the ever-widening skills gap that pervades the tech sector: our military veterans

Technology is advancing at an increasingly rapid rate, with new jobs are being created faster than educational institutions can produce fresh talent to let loose into the market. The digital skills gap is now a well-documented crisis and could cost the US an estimated $2.5 trillion over the next ten years with at least 2.4 million roles potentially left unfilled during that time.

Organisations across a range of industries are now exploring new ways to source candidates and keep their talent pool from running dry. All too often, the talents and experience of those in service go unnoticed, but we are seeing some positive shifts; veteran unemployment fell to 3.2% in December 2018, and sits lower than the rate of jobless civilians. However, that still means more than 650,000 veterans at left looking for work.

While the tech industry may have been slow to fully realise the value of hiring veterans, that certainly has changed in more recent years. Tech titans like Amazon, Tesla and Microsoft are just a few companies that not only recognise the benefits that veterans can bring to a business, but actively participate in easing their transition into civilian roles through supported programs designed to set them up for professional success.

Apprenticeships, internships, and return-to-work schemes have all proven to be a great help when it comes to filling the digital skills gap, with tailored programs that build on existing skill sets and experience generating results in a short period of time.

The military spends billions each year training the nation’s finest, so why not tap into that unique, high-caliber talent? One of the greatest hurdles the business community must address is a lack of awareness surrounding the kind of skill sets veterans possess—an issue compounded by pre-conceived notions and damaging stereotypes about what they can bring to the table. Unfamiliar with what makes veterans excel in tech roles? Here are just a few reasons why you can count on this home-grown talent to help you fill the digital skills gap.

Highly trainable

The tech sector is synonymous with self-improvement and continuous development—two core values you’ll also find in the military. From day one, new recruits are encouraged to learn, and expected to spend time developing their skill sets every single day. That makes veterans absolute masters of adaptability and fosters a sense of openness to learning new things, no matter what that discipline may be in.


Military roles teach and train recruits to do what it takes to get the job done. Goal completion is the order of the day from the very start of their military careers; veterans are laser-focused on their assignments and are adept at analysing situations, coming up with the most effective course of action, and taking a pragmatic approach to achieving that goal. Any tech team understands how crucial concentration can be when figuring out the best way to drive your business forward.

Independent and driven

Troops learn to be self-sufficient and take accountability early on in their military careers; veterans are comfortable taking initiative and have the drive necessary to see projects through to the end. While former service people make up less than 8% of the US population, the fact that veterans own 9% of all businesses in the country and are 45% more likely to launch their own startups than civilians is a testament to their tenacity.

Trained leaders

Veterans are sometimes mischaracterised as being followers rather than leaders, and that as a result they’ll struggle after transitioning into civilian life unless they’re getting orders—that’s far from the reality of the situation.

Our troops are put on the leadership track at a young age, and are encouraged to climb to positions with ever-increasing levels of responsibility. Leading by example is a vital part of day-to-day life in the military; by the time their service draws to an end, veterans are brimming with experience across vast range of roles and responsibilities, the likes of which you’d struggle to find elsewhere in the market.

If you want a candidate who’s ready to roll up their sleeves and lead the way to success, you’d be hard-pressed to find someone better-suited than a veteran. From overseeing teams of fellow troops to devising complex action plans and seeing them to fruition, finding this level of management experience and proven leadership skills in their civilian counterparts is almost impossible.

Sunny Ackerman


Sunny Ackerman

President of Americas  

Nelson Frank


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