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U.S. Companies Better at Hiring Veterans but Need Help to Reach Those with Disabilities

Author: Society for Human Resource Management

Published: 2011-01-15


A new poll released today found a majority of HR professionals have included veterans in their organizations diversity plan or policy during past 12 months.

Main Digest

A new poll released today found that a majority (67%) of HR professionals have included veterans in their organization's diversity plan or policy during the past 12 months.

The findings are detailed in a joint poll released today by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) and the Northeast ADA Center at Cornell University's ILR School.

The poll, "Recruiting Veterans with Disabilities: Perceptions in the Workplace," also shows that 68 percent of organizations have hired a veteran during the past 12 months, with activity high across small, medium-sized and large organizations.

"The data indicate that many organizations have hired veterans, but they have yet to realize the full potential of resources out there to help them hire more of these highly skilled candidates," said Mark Schmit, director of research at SHRM. "Also, many organizations have not yet capitalized on the great potential of disabled veterans."

Though human resource professionals are showing a strong intent to recruit and hire military veterans with disclosed disabilities, the number that hired during the past 12 months remains relatively low. Only 17 percent of HR professionals said their organization hired a veteran who disclosed a disability either before or after time of hire. Unknown is the number of veterans hired who chose not to disclose a disability.

People with disabilities are generally included in the diversity plan or policy of 70 percent of organizations represented in the poll.

Hannah Rudstam, senior extension faculty at the Northeast ADA Center at Cornell University, points to further implications of these poll findings: "Employers indicate having good will and recognize the business benefits in employing veterans with disabilities. Yet they struggle to translate this good will into recruiting, hiring and accommodation practices, particularly for veterans with the 'signature' disabilities of post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury."

How can HR find military veterans to recruit

While there are several key resources available to help civilian employers recruit military veterans with disabilities, HR professionals remain largely unaware of the programs:

87 percent were unaware of the Tip of the Arrow Foundation;

73 percent were unaware of the VetSuccess Program of the Department of Veterans Affairs;

61 percent were unaware of the Wounded Warrior Program;

60 percent were unaware of the Job Opportunities for Disabled American Veterans, or JOFDAV; and

59 percent were unaware of veterans' service organizations, such as the Paralyzed Veterans of America.

Among those HR professionals familiar with employer programs for disabled veterans, less than three percent reported using these resources in the past 12 months.

The poll surveyed 1,083 HR professionals from SHRM's membership.

To read this survey: Follow SHRM research on Twitter at

About the Society for Human Resource Management - The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) is the world's largest association devoted to human resource management. Representing more than 250,000 members in over 140 countries, the Society serves the needs of HR professionals and advances the interests of the HR profession. Founded in 1948, SHRM has more than 575 affiliated chapters within the United States and subsidiary offices in China and India. Visit SHRM Online at

About the Northeast ADA Center at Cornell University's ILR School - The Northeast ADA Center within Cornell University's ILR School provides employers and other stakeholders with research, technical assistance, training and resources on a broad range of issues related to disability in America. Go to Cornell ILR advances the world of work through teaching, research and outreach. ILR's mission is to prepare leaders, inform national and international employment and labor policy, and improve working lives. Founded in 1945 as the New York State School of Industrial and Labor Relations, ILR studies many areas - including human resource management - that shape the working world and contribute to an organization's success in a global economy. Go to

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