More than half of veterans struggle to find work in their desired fields after leaving the military because civilian employers want experienced and educated candidates, and often don’t realize veterans qualify… a new survey finds.

Only 17 percent of employers say veterans are viewed as strategic assets in the workplace, according to the survey, released this week by the marketing firm Edelman. And despite the large majority of veteran respondents saying they have education beyond a high school diploma, 46 percent of employers believe veterans do not pursue a college degree or vocational training.

“I think, ‘You need more education’ is code for: ‘We don’t understand you,’” said Eric Eversole, president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s Hiring Our Heroes initiative. Eversole led a panel discussion on the survey’s findings in Washington, D.C., Wednesday.

He told Military Times that many companies have started to prioritize veteran recruitment, but there are still challenges at the hiring-manager level. It can be easier for employers to say, “You’re not quite the right fit,” rather than to try to understand how time and tasks done in service measure up to the job requirements.