Boeing shares how veterans make its business better
Tuesday, 19 October 2021
Article by Amy List, Executive Sponsor, Boeing Australia Veteran Working Group
"The skills and lived experiences that veterans bring to our business are invaluable. Our programs and platforms are focused on keeping our servicemen and women safe and connected and who better to help us design, build and maintain our defence and communications systems than a person who has been in uniform."
- Scott Carpendale, Vice President and Managing Director of Boeing Defence Australia
Boeing has a long and proud history of engaging with and employing veterans. When Bill Boeing founded the company and built his first aircraft in 1916, he worked side-by-side with serving US Naval engineer, Lieutenant Conrad Westervelt. Their first aircraft was named the B&W to recognise the collaboration. Since that time Boeing has hired many thousands of veterans around the world. Hiring veterans is part of our DNA, and our Australian businesses are no exception.
More than 20% of Boeing’s Australian employees self-identify as veterans, and veterans make up approximately 50% of managers. This is not driven by policy. It happens organically. We simply hire the best person from the field of candidates and, by the nature of our work and our organisation, that person is often a veteran. Regardless, in late 2017, Boeing Australia set a deliberate goal to better support the recruitment of veterans and establish the environment for their success.
Our first step was to establish a Veterans Working Group (VWG). The VWG is made up of veterans, reservists, and Boeing employees who are military spouses or part of a military family; and supported by functional representatives from all levels and locations around the country. Boeing backs up its strong track record in employing veterans by supporting charities that help provide for the emotional, physical and mental needs of former service members and their families, as well as organisations that assist service members who are transitioning to work in the private sector. We do this under three key pillars:
1. Employment – we look to foster meaningful careers after military service through employment in defence industry. This includes supporting veteran-owned businesses; developing a network with organisations that assist veterans to gain meaningful employment such as Soldier On, RSL, Defence Teaming Centre, Engineers Australia and others; attending transition seminars to provide support and guidance for members exiting out of Defence; participating as members of the Prime Minister’s Industry Advisory Council on Veterans’ Employment; and partnering with the Department of Veterans Affairs.
2. Development – we are focused on veteran employee growth. This includes building a culture of Reserve service, developing career pathways and mentoring with senior leaders within Boeing, and a network of volunteer Veteran Liaison Officers throughout the organisation who support our veterans with advice and access to resources.
3. Community – we support organisations that are involved and engaged with the Australian veteran community. We sponsor multiple initiatives and organisations including Legacy, Soldier On, the Australian War Memorial, the Australian American Association veteran scholarship, the Prime Minister’s Veterans’ Employment Awards and the 2018 Invictus Games in Sydney.
The working group’s charter allows the business to have an assurance, from the outset, that policies or activities designed to benefit veteran employees will in fact do so, because they have been assessed and refined by veterans. Our efforts were recognised in 2018 when Boeing Defence Australia received the inaugural Prime Minister’s Veterans’ Employment Award for Veterans’ Employer of the Year – Large Business.