A Tradition of Diversity

The military is a diverse group of people, trained in a variety of skills with dedication to a strong work ethic. With those qualifications, plus the fact that today’s military is one of the most racially diverse pool of potential applicants, it makes sense to hire from the Armed Forces. The military has for decades been a great source for finding racially diverse candidates. But now more than ever is a great time to take advantage of that diversity. Employers know that with the host of discrimination laws, being more than careful not to discriminate in their hiring practices is the right thing to do. At the forefront of EEO statements is the commitment to prevent an adverse impact on any protected group, and in many cases, the mandate to hire diversity (i.e. affirmative action). The Numbers While many employers struggle to find quality people these days, regardless of their “status,” it all begins with a source from which a company draws its applicants. Within the last two years, minorities accounted for nearly 4 out of every 10 new recruits into all military branches (38%). That compares to the entire U.S. minority population of 27%?a difference of 11%! A Tradition of Excellence The military is proud of the fact that for generations it has recruited racial diversity. A recent story from the Washington Post website points out that in the past, fair treatment for many minorities was better sought in the military versus the outside world. “The military during our generation is where many of the best and brightest African Americans would go because often those were the only doors open to us,” said George Dumas, 63, a retired major. “Now we want to keep that tradition going…” That tradition is just a glimpse at the quality practices and disciplines the military has used for centuries. The military has often seen beyond the common practices of the population at large, even when it wasn’t popular to do so. And the military continues to do the right thing in the practice of recruiting diversity. <*SPONSORMESSAGE*> More Progress Even with the military’s longstanding commitment and reputation for promoting racial diversity, the recruitment of women has been slow. Women have only been allowed in the military for a short time, and since then the number of service women has generally been fairly low. Few women of the past ever desired to be a part of the service, but a shift in our country’s cultural views has sparked a change over the last few years. Recent recruitment studies reveal that almost 1 in 5 new military recruits are women. Considering the short timeframe, this is a credit to our military’s flexibility and capacity for constant change. This important change is one that now highlights the value of women to the service. Their contributions are certainly a significant part of our progressive military of today. Of course, the goal in hiring anyone for a position is matching up the job, the company, and its culture with the desires and talents of the individual. Color of skin, ethnic origin, or gender should never play a role in the recruitment process. The important factor to always consider is “job-relatedness,” and nothing else. However, the cautious company can begin on an even field by using a pool of candidates that makes for a fair and equitable hiring system. That pool of candidates can definitely be found in the military. And with 200,000 transitions out of the military and into the civilian work world per year, there is no doubt that any company can find in the military the most qualified and diverse candidates around. References: http://www.prb.org/pubs/usds99.htm

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A31218-2000Aug27.html http://www.defenselink.mil/news/Oct1998/fs_b10281998_bt559-98.html

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Bill Gaul (bgaul@destinygrp.com) is President and CEO of The Destiny Group, an Internet-based recruiting tool that utilizes the latest patent-pending technology (including audio/visual) for organizations to use to source men and women departing the military services. Endorsed by all of the U.S. Service Academy Alumni Associations, and three times selected as one of the "50 BEST" by CareerXRoads, this online system is the easiest and lowest cost method to reach transitioning military worldwide, without a per-head fee.

Bill's articles are Copyright 2001, The Destiny Group.

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