In the last year, Better.com has grown 3x, hired 800 employees, relocated headquarters to 7 World Trade Center in lower Manhattan and opened three new offices in Charlotte, Costa Mesa and Oakland to accommodate its rapid growth. By early 2020, Better.com will also have offices in Las Vegas, Kansas City and Honolulu.
The news follows a recent study that found that despite the fact that 250,000 people leave the military each year, only 17% of companies consider military veterans to be useful contributors to the workplace. Additionally, military spouses have a staggering unemployment rate of 16%, significantly higher than the national rate of around 3.4%. More than 800,000 veterans are unemployed.
Shift.org was created by Harvard grad and former Bomb Disposal Officer in the Navy Mike Slagh under the premise that not only can veterans make the switch into tech, but that they are also uniquely positioned to succeed at growth-stage startups. Over the next five years more than a million service members will leave active duty, but most won’t get transition support or explore opportunities in Silicon Valley. Shift’s services include job matching, hosting meet-ups for like-minded veterans and empowering advocates within top companies to hire veterans.
Better.com follows fellow tech companies Amazon, Dell, Uber, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, who also pledged to hire veterans and military spouses.
“Veterans are an untapped source of talent that learned, operated and adapted to some of the world’s most innovative technologies from VR to robotics, nuclear technology and cyber,” said Vishal Garg, CEO and Founder of Better.com. “Whereas most managers may feel confused when staring at the resume of a Bomb Disposal Officer, I see that as invaluable experience that shows qualities of an employee who can improvise, adapt and stay cool under pressure. As the Chief Executive of a rapidly-growing startup, we deeply value people with discipline, confidence, a strong work ethic, leadership skills and most importantly a desire to selflessly serve others – all skills that veterans have earned in the military, which often get overlooked and underappreciated. This is an unfortunate reality and we aim to change it with our hiring pledge.”
“Veterans gain incredible skills and experience during their service, but in the past it’s been a struggle to translate those into the skills that today’s employers need,” said Mike Slagh, CEO and Founder of Shift.org. “But the truth is that military experience is a perfect fit for modern companies. Vets are able to solve problems with limited resources, adapt to change, and keep calm under pressure. Vishal and the team at Better.com recognize these invaluable personal attributes. We know that their commitment to hiring veterans will have a transformative effect on Better.com’s culture.”
“I am always very personally moved by the honor, pride and sense of duty veterans feel when they reflect upon their service. Our nation puts its trust in these unsung heroes to fight and protect our country. Their skills can be translated into truly helping homeowners — thousands of whom put their trust in us each day when making the biggest financial transaction of their lives. Once they have helped make the world a safer place, we are proud to help veterans come home and make home a better place for all Americans,” Garg added.
“I cared the most about this mission when I joined Better.com in 2017, and found myself in a very familiar environment with nothing but driven people possessing a strong sense of esprit de corps. I had few engineering skills to offer when I started, but my team constantly gave me opportunities to be squarely at the nexus of hard technical and business problems. My skills related to improvising, adapting, and overcoming were a necessity and were genuinely valued by the team. There was – and still is – a strong sense of camaraderie that has truly helped me flourish and excel here,” said Mike Nguyen, Senior Engineer and Corporal with the Marine Corps Infantry, First Battalion, 8th Regiment, who served two tours in Iraq from 2006-2010.
Veterans who are interested in working at Better.com can sign up at http://www.better.com/veterans.
“I vividly remember my first day out of the military and how it took me about a full year to acclimate back to civilian life,” said Andrew Kilburn, Strategic Partnership Manager, Better.com’s first hire on the West Coast in 2017 and HM2 with the United States Navy. “One of the biggest challenges for vets is that employers hire based on resumes and college degrees and not real world experience. And yet, the time management skills, ability to learn and rapidly adapt are all key attributes that vets possess. I’ve had the privilege of being part of a team with unrelenting energy and desire to accomplish a mission. These are all key traits the military instills that would truly benefit any hyper-growth startup like Better.com, arguably more so than a college degree.”
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