Minister Chester said the awards recognise the "enormous contribution being made by veterans in civilian workplaces around Australia, and showcase the businesses which benefit from their unique experience, skills and leadership".
"We know that employing a veteran is good for businesses," Mr Chester said.
"Veterans have a wealth of transferable skills and experience gained from their time serving and have so much to offer potential employers.
"This is demonstrated by the diverse range of businesses included in this year's finalists, with large, medium and small businesses from right around Australia, across a range of industries and professions."
The awards will also feature a category of Veteran Entrepreneur of the Year for the first time.
"The Prime Minister's Veterans' Employment Awards provide a platform to celebrate the individuals and businesses shaping the future of veteran employment," George Frazis, chair of the Industry Advisory Committee on Veterans' Employment, and Westpac Group Consumer Bank chief executive, said.
"We know defence personnel possess skills that are highly desirable in the business world, like leadership, resilience and agility.
"We are proud to see a growing number of organisations introducing recruitment programs and strategies to foster veteran employment and career growth, while harnessing the unique skills and capabilities veterans bring to the workforce."
The awards will be held on 5 March 2019 in the Great Hall of Parliament House, Canberra.
The full list of finalists is below:
Veteran Employee of the Year
- Damian Drain CSM, GHD
- Jordan Ivone, PwC Australia
- Claire Kluge, Boeing Defence Australia
Veteran Entrepreneur of the Year
- Christopher Rhyss Edwards, Soldier.ly
- Penelope Twemlow, Women in Power and General Manager
- Ben Whitham, Penten
Veterans' Employer of the Year - Small
- Aero PM
- Emergency Australia
- Veterans in Construction
Veterans' Employer of the Year - Medium
- BCT Solutions
- Noetic Group
Veterans' Employer of the Year - Large
- Boral Limited
- Raytheon Australia
- Westpac Group
Excellence in Supporting Veterans' Employment
- Ironside Recruitment
- Soldier On
Excellence in Supporting Spouse Employment
- Alison Bannister Career Consulting
- Defence Bank
- Majura Park Childcare