Quarterly Spotlight

Small Businesses Want to Hire Veterans, but Often Don't Know Where to Start

This quarter, the MetLife & U.S. Chamber of Commerce Small Business Index surveyed small businesses about their experience in hiring and retaining veterans, as well as the challenges they face compared to non-veteran-owned small businesses.

The survey revealed some important trends about small businesses’ attitude toward hiring veterans:

Some small businesses report difficulty in learning how to better recruit and hire veterans:

Veterans Viewed As Having More Positive Attributes*Graphic indicating veterans viewed as having more positive attributes

*From "Veterans in the Workplace," U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation, Hiring Our Heroes. Nov. 2016.

Larger Small Businesses Lead Recruitment, Hiring of Veterans

Small business owners overwhelmingly agree that hiring military veterans would be beneficial for business. But there is a gap between saying and doing, as reflected by strong support for the idea, but a low number of businesses that have actually hired/recruited veterans.

Survey results show that larger small businesses are more likely to hire and recruit veterans. They are also more likely to use veteran-specific hiring resources and participate in veteran-related activities, such as partnering with an organization dedicated to placing veterans in the workforce, sharing job postings with military employment counselors or attending veteran job fairs or hiring events.

Hiring and Recruiting Military VeteransGraphic indicating hiring and recruiting of military veterans

Veteran-Owned Small Businesses Face Familiar Challenges

Veteran-owned small businesses report similar challenges to those facing other small businesses. Chief among these concerns are the perennial challenges of securing access to capital and hiring the right talent.

The Q3 2018 survey found that access to capital was generally high across all small businesses. 23% of small businesses reported that it was hard to obtain financing, but opinions varied based on recent experience with the financing process.

According to the current survey, the top challenges veteran-owned small businesses face are:

Veteran and non-veteran-owned small businesses are equal in terms of plans for staffing growth (both 29%). But veteran-owned small businesses have higher expectations toward increasing investments when compared to their counterparts.

Veteran-owned small businesses tend to have more activities focused on recruiting and hiring transitioning service members and to offer more benefits for veterans:

Challenges for Veteran-Owned Small BusinessesGraphic indicating hiring and recruiting of military veterans

South, Manufacturing Sector Lead in Hiring Veterans

The survey also found interesting trends across regions and sectors when it comes to hiring and recruiting veterans.

Across sectors, small manufacturers are solidly ahead in hiring veterans (63%). Trailing behind, 47% in services, 44% in retail, and 39% in professional services report hiring veterans. When it comes to intentionally recruiting veterans, just 6% of those in retail report doing so, with the highest numbers reported in manufacturing and professional services (12% for both).


Dylan Robinson at the Flags of Valor workshop.
"Working at an organization that hires so many veterans makes me feel proud and honored to have walked in the same boots as my brothers here at FOV. This is not just a job, this is family and every day we have each others' back and do something bigger than ourselves." Dylan Robinson Craftsman, Flags of Valor Ashburn, VA
"Veterans are proven learners with a passion for teamwork and a commitment to results. Employing and empowering veterans is what we are all about! It's a win-win for businesses and their communities." Joe Shamess Co-Founder and Owner, Flags of Valor Ashburn, VA