The Vietnam Era Veterans' Readjustment Assistance Act of 1974 (VEVRAA) prohibits federal contractors and subcontractors from discriminating in employment against protected veterans and requires employers take affirmative action to recruit, hire, promote, and retain these individuals. The purpose of this document is to promote effective practices for federal contractors and veterans in the workforce. These practices may also facilitate understanding of a contractor's obligations under VEVRAA and result in increased equal employment opportunity for protected veterans. The promising practices cover the following topics:


VEVRAA Hiring Benchmark

VEVRAA requires contractors to establish a hiring benchmark every year to measure their progress toward achieving equal employment opportunity for protected veterans. The VEVRAA hiring benchmark sets a target for hiring protected veterans during one affirmative action program (AAP) year. To measure its progress, a contractor calculates the percentage of total hires, using self-identification data, who are protected veterans hired during that AAP year.

How can federal contractors use the VEVRAA hiring benchmark to measure progress in hiring protected veterans?

  • Compare the percentage of hired protected veterans to either the national average benchmark or an individualized hiring benchmark, to evaluate the effectiveness of your company's outreach efforts.
  • This assessment will determine whether the outreach or recruitment increased protected veteran activities such as attracting and/or selecting qualified protected veterans.
  • For additional information, please visit OFCCP's VEVRAA Hiring Benchmark website and VEVRAA FAQs.

What are some promising practices for establishing VEVRAA hiring benchmarks?

  • Maintain records of veteran recruitment events.
  • Maintain records of methods for establishing benchmark.
  • Periodically re-evaluate which benchmark method is appropriate, the National Annual Veteran Benchmark or the Five-Factor Method.


VEVRAA requires contractors to offer each applicant the opportunity to self-identify as a protected veteran under VEVRAA at both the pre-offer and post-offer phases of the hiring process. This data is used by contractors to perform components in their affirmative action programs, such as the annual assessment of the effectiveness of outreach and recruitment efforts and hiring benchmark. Contractors are required to keep all information on self-identification confidential.

How can federal contractors encourage employees to self-identify?

  • Provide reasons for requesting the self-identification information.
  • Communicate the benefits of self-identifying:
    • Bring cultural and social awareness to their employer.
    • Impact the employer's initiatives and investments related to diversity and inclusion.
    • Access to benefits that employers may provide to veterans.
    • Assist employers in measuring the effectiveness of their veteran hiring initiatives.
  • Explain how self-identification links to the employer's overall commitment to diversity and inclusion.
  • Communicate who will have access to the information that applicants and employees provide.
  • For additional information, please visit OFCCP's VEVRAA FAQs and VEVRAA Compliance Assistance website.

What are some reasons why individuals should self-identify as a protected veteran?

  • By self-identifying, you will help your employer know if they are achieving their goal of representation of veterans in the workforce.
  • There may be benefits available to you as a veteran that federal contractors can provide to you if you elect to self-identify.
  • You can have the opportunity to gather with other veterans at a specific event that may be of interest.
  • Your identification will assist federal contractors in measuring the effectiveness of their veteran hiring initiatives.
  • Although applicants or employees may feel uncomfortable disclosing their veteran status, there is the opportunity to bring cultural and social awareness to their employer which can impact the initiatives and investments related to diversity and inclusion.
  • When federal contractors capture self-identification data, it provides an opportunity for federal contractors to see if barriers exist within policies and processes.  If so, companies can address areas that need improvement.
  • For additional information, please visit OFCCP's VEVRAA FAQs and Veteran Resources website.


VEVRAA requires contractors to ensure that qualified applicants and employees are receiving an equal opportunity to apply and compete for jobs, promotions, training, and other employment opportunities.

How can federal contractors show their commitment to hiring qualified veterans?

  • Recruit at veteran job fairs.
  • Include the related Military Occupational Specialty (MOS) when advertising jobs.
  • Enlist the assistance of individuals and organizations with a mission to help veterans gain employment. For additional resources, please visit:
  • Enlist the support of professionals in local U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center social services offices.
  • Develop professional relationships with:
    • The local veterans' employment representative at your local employment service office (also known as American Job Centers).
    • Veteran representatives at colleges and technical schools.
    • Personnel on military bases involved in the transition of military personnel to the private sector.

What valued attributes and characteristics do veterans bring to the workplace?

  • Proven leadership and leadership readiness.
  • Mission-focused approach to work.
  • Experience working in diverse teams and organizations.
  • Adaptable and immediate contributors.
  • Strong work ethics.
  • Strong performance under pressure.
  • Creative problem-solving.

Outreach and Recruitment

VEVRAA requires contractors to engage in appropriate outreach and positive recruitment activities, evaluate the effectiveness of each outreach or recruitment activity, and assess the total effectiveness of all its efforts combined in hiring and recruiting protected veterans.

How can contactors use self-identification information to evaluate veteran outreach and recruitment efforts?

  • Track applicant and hiring activity for veterans who self-identified.
  • Employers can use the following criteria to assess the effectiveness of each outreach and recruitment effort:
    • To what extent did the activity attract qualified applicants who are protected veterans?
    • To what extent did the activity result in the hiring of qualified protected veterans?
    • To what extent did the activity expand outreach to protected veterans in the community?
    • To what extent did the activity increase capacity/capability to include protected veterans in its applicant pool and workforce?

How can federal contractors engage in outreach and recruitment efforts reasonably designed to effectively recruit qualified protected veterans?

  • Engage in activities such as job fairs, recruitment activities with educational institutions and organizations that focus on job training and development for protected veterans.
  • Post job opportunities with specialized veteran organizations.
  • Develop personalized outreach programs. The scope of the federal contractor's efforts will depend upon circumstances, including the contractor's size and resources, and the extent to which existing employment practices are adequate.


VEVRAA requires contractors to provide a work environment free of discrimination. VEVRAA also requires contractors to ensure there are no imposed barriers for protected veterans in the workplace.    

What can federal contractors do to create a workplace environment that supports veterans?

  • Create veteran "affinity" or employee resource groups (ERGs) that encourage veterans to join and participate.
  • Pair newly employed veterans with a mentor. Mentors can be a valuable resource by providing insight and support.
  • Offer mentorship programs also for veterans as they grow their career.
  • Create focused groups or programs for current and onboarding female veteran employees, to foster a supportive community.
  • Empower female veterans in their careers and leadership roles by providing professional development opportunities.
  • Acknowledge and celebrate achievements of veterans.
  • Encourage communication by holding office hours or having an open-door policy to allow veterans to voice questions or concerns.
  • Develop and communicate a policy statement for employment of spouses of protected veterans.
  • Apply for the U.S. Department of Labor's HIRE Vets Medallion Award, which recognizes employers for their investments in recruiting, employing, and retaining veterans. The award signals to veterans that recipients are veteran-ready employers.

How can federal contractors train supervisors and managers on veterans' issues?

  • Review employment policies and practices to ensure that spouses (and other associates) of protected veterans are not discriminated against in employment because of that relationship.
  • Proactively evaluate personnel data of protected veterans, protected veteran spouses (to the extent data is available), and protected veterans with disabilities – including, hiring, promotions, and compensation data – to determine if any unlawful disparities exist.
  • Train supervisors and managers on the employer's accommodation process should applicants or employees that are disabled veterans need a reasonable accommodation.
  • Train hiring managers to help eliminate any bias and discrimination in the hiring process.
  • For additional information, please visit OFCCP's VEVRAA FAQs and Veteran Resources website.

Suggestions for Veterans in the Workplace

  • Identify your veteran status with your employer.
  • Volunteer to represent your employer at job fairs or recruiting events.
  • Volunteer to mentor other veterans in the workplace.
  • Join employee affinity groups to discuss insights, needs, challenges, and successes in your workplace.

Resources for Veterans and Contractors

Last updated on February 9, 2024