According to a new study by CareerBuilder, employment prospects for U.S. military veterans may be improving.

In a survey of 2,600 employers nationwide, 29% of hiring and human resource managers said they are actively recruiting veterans to work for their organizations, up 9 percentage points from a year ago. Twenty-two percent are planning on adding members of the National Guard to their headcount, up 8 percentage points. Sixty-five percent said they would be more likely to hire a veteran over another equally qualified candidate.

Employers are looking to leverage the technical and leadership skills of military personnel, with 3 in 10 hoping to fill information technology positions with veterans. The most common areas for hiring U.S. service men and women are:

  • Information Technology30%
  • Customer Service23%
  • Engineering22%
  • Sale: 20%
  • Manufacturing20%
  • Business Development15 %

The survey also found that one of the biggest challenges employers face when recruiting U.S. veterans is that service men and women don't always market themselves as veterans. Forty-five percent of employers say they pay more attention to applications submitted by U.S. veterans, but 30% say it's not always obvious whether a candidate is a veteran.

The unemployment rate for veterans of Afghanistan and Iraq, though declining, is still considerably higher than the general population, says CareerBuilder. While military veterans possess a great deal of the business-friendly skills that employers look for in candidates, they often are unsure about where to begin when job hunting after they return from active duty.

More information on hiring veterans