Veterans: An employer’s secret weapon

Employers have access to a remarkable workforce with valuable experience in highly regimented, detail-oriented, team environments.

Commissionaires recently partnered with Environics to gain a better understanding of the employment needs and aspirations of the modern veteran. The research revealed a number of key insights regarding Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) and RCMP veterans.

“This is incredibly valuable for a veteran-focused organization like Commissionaires,” said Brig.-Gen. Gary Stafford (ret’d), Veterans Advisory Committee Chair for Commissionaires Great Lakes (CGL). “It allows our management team to tailor veteran employment opportunities—casual, permanent and transitional—and ensure we address the social needs and familiar structures of those who served.”

Most respondents expressed a desire to continue helping people thus translating their experience and values of service and purpose in the civilian world. They tend to retire from the military to prioritize quality of life and a healthy work-life balance. They seek opportunities that allow greater control over life decisions such as where to live and to spend more time with their partners and children.

“Each year, Commissionaires newly hires 10-15% of the number of veterans releasing from the CAF,” said Geoff Hamilton, CGL’s CEO who also serves as a Commander in the Naval Reserve. “This makes us a key part of the transition journey for CAF veterans, and means that we need to be attuned to the needs and aspirations of this uniquely self-motivated, skilled workforce.”

The research determined that Canadian veterans think about their post-service employment in different ways.

One group comprising relatively older veterans with less education is interested in non-managerial and mid-level positions in slower-paced, predictable environments. This group tends to seek stability, balance and good pay.

A second group, predominantly aged 35-44 with families, strives for leadership positions and compensation that recognizes and rewards their military or police skills and values. This group faces greater financial uncertainty and difficulty making the transition to civilian life.

A third group tends to be single and driven. The veterans in this category seek challenging, dynamic work environments where they can demonstrate their skills while learning and growing. They are confident in their ability to navigate today’s complex world and find their desired job opportunity.

“This survey reinforces the notion that retiring military members prefer to be part of a working environment that respects and understands military values and culture,” said CGL Board Chair Gil Taylor. “It’s the sort of thing the Canadian Corps of Commissionaires has been providing for nearly 100 years. The transition from serving member to veteran can be a difficult one. Commissionaires understands this and provides a working community grounded in military principles while offering opportunities that recognize the unique capabilities and skills of each new veteran.”

Commissionaires was founded in 1925 to provide employment to veterans of the First World War. Our modernized social mandate is to provide meaningful employment that meets the needs of veterans of the Canadian Armed Forces, the RCMP, their families and others who wish to contribute to the security and well-being of Canadians.