Now, I understand that most that have these concerns would not willingly verbalize them to the head of a Veteran Recruiting company. Also, given that they have engaged in an active contract with my organization, it’s also reasonable to assume that I am not actively communicating within the populations that harbor such concerns. Those that do, simply don’t contract with an organization such as Veteran Talent Advisors.
For the sake of this message; let’s assume that a majority of individuals who are in a hiring capacity or who have great influence over those in a hiring capacity have grave concerns over the hiring of Veterans for fear of dealing with the symptoms of PTSD.
First thing’s first. Let’s strip that “D” from the equation right from the start. Post Traumatic Stress is just that, “stress.” It is the NATURAL reaction of a HEALTHY brain to unusual or uncommon stress. This is not, in any way, a clinical disorder. The vast majority of those dealing with PTS are not people with combat experience and you would never approach a person who had been mugged or just experienced a horrible car crash and claim that they have a disorder. Would you?
Let’s get objective with this in the hopes that might assuage any subjective fears harbored by those within corporate America. PTS is not in any way a veteran specific issue. Not even close. PTS is said to affect roughly 7.7 Million Americans each and every day. According to some articles and many media outlets, that number stands where it is due to the fact that Veterans have been engaged in ongoing combat now for nearly 12 years. Which might easily be a separate topic for another day.
The reality is that we have 1.6 Million post 9/11 Veterans in existence. Even if every single member of the military post 9/11 dealt with some aspect of PTS that would only account for 20.7% of all PTS sufferers. I believe every rational person realizes that not all veterans deal with symptoms of PTS. The number is difficult to come by and I’ve seen estimations of post 9/11 veterans with PTS come in as low as 5% and in one study as high as 20%. I’m willing to bet the reality is somewhere in between. Let’s err on the side of caution and assume the number is 15%. That would equate to 240,000 post 9/11 Veterans suffering from symptoms of PTS. In other words; 3.1% of all Americans suffering from PTS are post 9/11 Veterans. That’s a tiny number.
Let’s get even smaller. There is roughly 156,000,000 people in the aggregate American labor force. That means that any given hiring manager, in respect to aggregate terms, has only a 5% chance of hiring someone, anyone, regardless of veteran status that suffers from PTS. What are your chances of hiring a veteran with PTS? .15%.
It’s also very interesting to see that the aggregate rate of PTS sufferers to the overall labor force is around 5%. Some experts have suggested the number of Veterans suffering from PTS could be as low as 5%. Reality is it’s probably marginally higher than 5%, but not uncommonly higher than the non-veteran community at large.
Conclusion: Veterans suffer from PTS at nominally comparable rates as non-Veterans. Saying this does NOT mean that Veteran Service Organizations should discontinue their work and operations in support of assisting veterans that suffer from PTS. All the work they do is important, worthwhile and vastly appreciated by the Veteran community. The sole point here is for a better understanding by hiring managers and influencers of hiring managers that when considering bringing Veterans into your organization, PTS should not be part of the hiring equation.
There are many resources in existence making recommendations on how to accommodate employees who suffer from PTS, Vets and Non-Vets alike, and dealing with these issues is less problematic than you might believe. Mostly it involves being empathetic and making an effort to understand what that employee is experiencing and allowing that individual time to seek treatment should that be a path they choose.