Are there Enough Veterans in Government Jobs?

There are many veterans in government positions but there are many other vets who are unemployed and who struggle to find a steady job. Should the government do more to help our returning veterans by giving vets first crack at any federal government positions that open up or should veterans compete with civilians for these often lucrative jobs?

veterans in government jobs

In recent years, the number of veterans in government positions has increased significantly. The government has made a determined effort to boost the rate of veteran employment and taken steps to open up these jobs so that vets can more easily apply. In addition, there are laws in place that dictate which federal positions veterans must receive preference.

Laws Regarding Veterans in Government Jobs

The Veterans’ Preference Act of 1944

The Veterans’ Preference Act of 1944 gives some preference to veterans in government hiring. This is a federal law that was passed to honor the service and the sacrifice that returning war veterans have made. The act was passed in 1944 and it details which government positions that preference should be given to veterans.

In 1948 this law was amended so that certain divorced, widowed, or legally separated mothers of veterans were also afforded preference when it came to certain jobs in the federal government. Not all federal positions allow preference though, and the act explains which positions that preference does not apply.

Executive Order 13518 – Veterans Employment Initiative

Executive Order 13518 – Veterans Employment Initiative is an executive order signed by President Obama in 2009 which aims to help returning veterans find jobs in the public and private sector. This executive order hopes to increase the number of veterans in government and decrease the number of veterans who are unemployed.

Why Should Veterans Receive Preference in Federal Hiring?

The history of preference in hiring veterans in government goes all the way back to the Civil War. Congress recognized that veterans had served and sacrificed, and Congress determined that our veterans should never be penalized because of their sacrifice and their service to their country. Vets have already suffered economic losses and many other hardships because they served.

When does Veterans Preference Apply?

Some positions in the federal government do not automatically give preference to veterans, such as positions where confirmation by the Senate is required, and some positions in the legislative and judicial government branches may also be exempt from veteran preference requirement. A majority of positions filled by the government qualify for the veterans preference program though.

Which Federal Agencies Tend to Hire More Veterans on Average?

The federal agency that tends to hire the most veterans in government each hiring cycle is the  U.S. Department of Defense, followed by the U.S. Department of State. In 2013, the DoD filled 54 percent of available job postings with veteran hires according to Federal News Radio. In 2014 veteran hiring by the federal government was at an all-time high according to the same report.

Where can Veterans Search for Government Jobs?

There are many government agencies and private businesses that can help qualified people find jobs for veterans in government. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs not only hires veterans for positions but the agency also has a page dedicated to helping vets find jobs that they qualify for in the federal government.

Another website where veterans can find information about federal hiring practices and available positions in the government is Feds Hire Vets. Veterans can also use the USA Jobs website that has a special section for veterans who are seeking employment. Federal Jobs is another website that can help veterans who want to work for the federal government.

Are Veterans Guaranteed a Government Job?

The current laws do not guarantee a position for veterans in government but these individuals are given preference for many of the jobs which are posted. Most veterans have the skills and qualifications needed to fill federal positions, and the federal government has taken steps to increase the number of vets that have been hired in recent years.


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