Bachelors Degree vs. Military Experience – Why Do Employers View One as Less Valuable?

For many veterans, there is a sense of disillusionment about the value of their military experience when they go out into the civilian sector. The same can be said about recent graduates.

Veterans feel this way because they believed people who told them that their military service would be valued and rewarded. However, when they go out for interviews, the HR staff ends up having to choose between a young man or woman with a degree in the field (and related internships) and another candidate who spent two summers disarming bombs on the side of Middle Eastern roads.This changes when college grads and vets apply for federal work because if they both meet the minimum requirements, the veteran gets a bump toward the position because of preferential hiring. The graduate cannot believe he put the time into going to school only to be bumped off of the position by someone with no relative job experience.

Why do some employers prefer one over the other?

It’s the law!

With the case of a federal job, if a veteran meets the minimum requirements for a position, then he or she will get a preference. This means that if two people are applying to be entry level auditors for the IRS, and one of them has an MBA in accounting and the other has a GED followed by military service, the latter should get the job since entry level auditors don’t need a college degree.

As for the private sector, there are no mandates on hiring veterans, just tax breaks.

Tax Breaks for Hiring Veterans,

Some employers like to show their patriotism by hiring veterans, and it doesn’t hurt that they get some money back on their taxes. There are four categories of tax benefits ranging from $2,400 to $9,600.

However, tax breaks are not always enough to want to hire a veteran.

Sometimes Veterans are not Very Relatable

While many veterans are really great people, they sometimes fail to be able to relate to others. One young man who was working at an accounting firm after his time in the Marine Corps found this out the hard way when he was online and found “the greatest t-shirt ever.” The shirt said if you’re not a marine, then these are for you with a picture was of a guy holding up two middle fingers.

This former marine thought this was so great he’d be selfish not to share with his co-workers. The first person was an Air Force veteran who appreciated the joke, but insisted he not share this gem with others. The young man felt it was harmless and proceeded to tell others. No one was amused and one was genuinely offended; she was a partner.

It’s the law! But the Other way

Sometimes college graduates have preference. Police officers on Long Island need a 2-year degree to serve. This means that a former military policeman with 10 years experience won’t even be considered for hire, but a young man or woman with 60 college credits and 5 years of experience working in a restaurant will.

Some employers have a preference for their alma mater. Others like to hire friends and family. There are many reasons that they prefer one candidate over the other, and when they have a choice, they exercise it. And that’s all there is to it.