Carnegie Council Applauds new Book, "Mission Critical: Unlocking the Value of Veterans in the Workforce"

Nov 11, 2015

Companies are using up to 30 percent of recruiting budgets to source and hire veterans, yet a new study finds that veterans are stalling out once they enter the U.S. workforce. Sixty-four percent of veterans say they are not using three or more of their skills that could be relevant in the corporate context. Nearly 40 percent say that senior leaders are not capable of seeing their full potential.

These findings were published this week in Center for Talent Innovation's Mission Critical: Unlocking the Value of Veterans in the Workforce, a book that highlights the unique opportunities and challenges that U.S. veterans face in the workplace. The book is co-authored by U.S. Marine Michael Abrams, president and founder of Four Block, and Julia Taylor Kennedy, senior vice president and senior fellow at the Center for Talent Innovation, and host of Carnegie Council's podcast, Impact: Where Business and Ethics Meet.

"The extraordinary skills veterans developed while in the military, and the commitment that compelled them to serve their country, fail to translate into career progression" says Julia Taylor Kennedy. "They feel underutilized and underappreciated. No wonder the veterans we surveyed 'checked out.'"

For a Carnegie Council podcast interview with Taylor Kennedy about the book, click here.

"The fate of veterans after they leave the military is of great concern to us all," said Carnegie Council President Joel Rosenthal. "We congratulate CTI on this valuable research."

The findings, culled from a nationwide survey of 1,022 U.S. veterans employed in white-collar occupations, show that 89 percent of veterans consider themselves ambitious—yet 57 percent of survey respondents report no aspirations to rise above the positions they currently hold. Of the remaining 43 percent of veterans who do aspire to a more senior position, fully 39 percent report feeling stalled in their careers. Additionally, skills that translate into a workplace setting are being left on the table. Twenty-nine percent of veterans feel overqualified for their current position.

Skills veterans frequently say they have but do not use—particularly technical and leadership skills that translate into a workplace setting—include:

  • Social media
  • Language fluency
  • Computer programming
  • Accounting
  • Statistical Analysis
  • Managing the career development of others
  • Transparent decision-making
  • Relationship/ stakeholder management
  • Team building

The book is available for purchase on For more information, please visit

About the Center for Talent Innovation

The Center for Talent Innovation is a non-profit think tank based in New York City. CTI's flagship project is the Task Force for Talent Innovation—a private-sector consortium focused on helping organizations leverage their talent across the divides of gender, generation, geography, and culture. For more information, go to

About Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs

Founded by Andrew Carnegie in 1914, Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs is an educational, nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that produces lectures, publications, and multimedia materials on the ethical challenges of living in a globalized world.

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