By Debbie Gregory.
While American employers see veterans as “heroes,” they don’t necessarily see them as “assets”, according to a recent survey.
The survey, done by the Edelman marketing firm, found that the designation of “hero” can create an emotional distance between veterans and civilians. This in turn can make it difficult for civilians to connect with veterans and view them as potential colleagues.
The online survey found that 84% of employers and 75% of civilians see veterans as heroes. But only 26% of employers and 22% of civilians think veterans are “strategic assets” in their communities.
The survey also found that employers most commonly think about mental health problems when they think about veterans.
While the jobless rate for veterans who served in Iraq and Afghanistan has decreased in recent years, there are concerns about the quality of employment.
Survey results were released as part of a joint effort by Edelman, Give an Hour, a non-profit organization that provides counseling to troops and veterans, and the George W. Bush Institute.
“The issue is about long-term job fit, advancement, retention. Is the veteran given the same look as others?” said Barbara Van Dahlen, founder and president of Give an Hour.
The goal was to examine the “well-being” of veterans and what was described as an ongoing schism between civilians and those who serve in the military, according to Van Dahlen.
Van Dahlen said the contrasting view that veterans are heroes, but not assets, is a product of an American culture in need of heroes, but lacking understanding of its military. “These folks come home from war, they’ve seen and done things that would make many of us feel uneasy, uncomfortable, intimidated. And so by seeing them in this way, as heroes, it does keep us distant from them.”