The latest Best for Vets: Employers rankings are out, featuring 100 organizations across more than 30 industries.
To qualify for the rankings, employers filled out a detailed survey evaluating their culture, policies for military-connected employees and resources they devote to hiring veterans. Only organizations that did well in this evaluation made the list.
Read on for a look at the top 10:
Global payment and technology solutions company First Data topped our list for the second year in a row. In recent years, the Atlanta-based corporation has changed the way it identifies and recruits military-connected employees, accommodates reservists and trains hiring managers and non-military workers in veteran-specific issues. This is all part of the company’s First Data Salutes initiative, which aims to better engage the military community through employment, education partnerships and perks for veteran entrepreneurs.
“Veterans have a unique skill set and leadership style that is forged through years of service to their country,” said First Data chairman and CEO Frank Bisignano. “All of us have the opportunity to leverage the assets the military community brings throughout our organizations, along main streets, in board rooms
, and throughout supply chains. This commitment is what drove us to create First Data Salutes , and continues to inspire us to further expand and enhance our military community programming.”
2. BAE Systems
At BAE Systems, many jobs actually require military experience. The international defense and aerospace company devotes a quarter of its recruiting budget to hiring veterans — the most of any companies in the top 10, according to information provided to Military Times — and veterans made up just over 16 percent of all employees at the company in 2017.
“Without a doubt, veterans are an integral part of our workforce,” said Curtis Gray, senior vice president of human resources and administration. “Not only do they bring the can-do attitude we seek in a BAE Systems employee, they also possess the inherent traits that align perfectly with our core values as a company.”
Comcast NBCUniversal, the largest company in our top 10, recently surpassed its goal to hire 10,000 military-affiliated employees between 2015 and 2017 and doesn’t plan to stop there.
“Our outreach to the entire military community — veterans, military spouses, and National Guard and reserve members — will continue, because it is great for our business, and the right thing to do for ... those who have given to our country,” Ret. Army Brigadier Gen. Carol Eggert, a senior vice president of military and veteran affairs at the company, told Military Times.
“Of course, we’re working to attract and hire veterans, but we’re going ever farther,” said Chris Crace, leader of veterans advocacy at PwC. The accounting and consulting firm has an onboarding program to help new veteran employees get acclimated and improve retention. PwC also extends its military engagement efforts to spouses, Crace said. Like most other companies in the top 10, PwC offers military spouses the option to work remotely, take on a flexible schedule and transfer between branches, when possible, according to information provided in the survey.
As General Motors works on the technologies to create a world with “zero crashes, zero emissions, zero congestion,” the company values the competencies and skills of transitioning service members — and particularly those with technical degrees, said Ken Morris, vice president of global product integrity at the Detroit-based car manufacturer.
In response to questions about how General Motors gives veterans a leg up in the hiring process, the company said it gives veterans a significant preference over otherwise identical candidates.
Verizon recruiters attended 175 military-specific job fairs last year — well above the average of 33 job fairs for the companies that made our list. The telecommunications company had the largest veteran employee population of all the companies in our top 10 and hired just over 1,000 veterans in 2017.
“We’re actively recruiting veterans to join our team as they transition from the military into a rewarding civilian career with Verizon,” the company said in a statement. “For us, it’s about honoring military service, strengthening our business and a commitment to supporting our military communities.”
Southern Company is a past recipient of the Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award, the highest honor given by the federal government to employers for outstanding support of employees serving in the National Guard and reserves. According to information provided in the survey, the company pays reservist employees called to active duty the full difference between their military and civilian pay for an unlimited amount of time and also provides unlimited medical and life insurance coverage for employees and their dependents. Upon returning from active duty, reservists get a tailored on-ramping experiences that reintroduces them to the company and any changes that may have occurred while they were deployed.
Veteran employees make up 28 percent of the workforce at Booz Allen Hamilton — the highest proportion of any company in the top 10.
“Even though we’ve won awards and accolades for our programs, the most important aspect of our support is shared experience,” the company said in the survey. “Our people have stood with the military. Seen what they’ve seen. Felt what they’ve felt. We know what benefits they need, how to help them transition, and that military spouses need support too. Veterans and military families are more than welcomed at Booz Allen — they’re understood.”
Located just 20 miles from the world’s largest naval base, Newport News Shipbuilding in Virginia, a division of Huntington Ingalls Industries, employs more than 3,000 veterans to help design, build and refuel aircraft carriers and submarines.
“Including our veterans and military families in all aspects of society strengthens a community and country,” said Sultan Camp, leader of veteran and military spouse talent acquisition at the company. “When our military professionals and their spouses have great jobs, their families are more successful. At Newport News Shipbuilding, this is our charge to keep.”
Rounding out the top 10 is U.S. Bank. The Minneapolis-based company, which got its start in the 19th century, has around 72,000 employees — nearly 2,000 of whom are veterans. According to the company’s survey responses, U.S. Bank requires all recruiters, human resources professionals, supervisors and the general employee population to undergo training in military-specific issues at least once per year.
Military Times contributor and former reporter Natalie Gross hosts the Spouse Angle podcast. She grew up in a military family and has a master's degree in journalism from Georgetown University.