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A Hidden Population and Untapped Resource: Supporting Military Spouses

A Hidden Population and Untapped Resource: Supporting Military Spouses
Posted on Tuesday, November 16, 2021 by Sara Vidoni

Think about hiring someone who is highly educated, resilient, adaptable, and brings a wide range of experience from different industries.


Pretty great hire, right?

Military spouses check all those boxes. However, instead of employers chomping at the bit to hire them, they are often underemployed, and many are unemployed. I can vouch for the struggles of the military spouse population, because I am one.

Why supporting military spouses is good for the bottom line.


To start off the conveersation, Here are some facts to keep in mind about this unique population.

  • There are approximately 710,000 active-duty spouses with the majority, 91%, being women.
  • One in every four military spouses is unemployed and looking for work.
  • 84% of military spouses have some college, 25% have a bachelor’s degree and 10% have advanced degrees. In comparison, almost 2/3 of the labor force do not have a college degree.
  • Military spouses earn 25% less than their civilian counterparts.

In a commentary for the Military Times titled Military Spouse Employment Is a National Security Issue, Eric Eversole said, “It is in the best interest of employers to embrace military spouses to benefit from the skills, experience and resilience that they bring to the workforce. Military spouses are more highly educated than other working Americans and benefit from exposure to diverse environments, people and experiences, which provide them with diverse skill sets that strengthen workplaces.”

“Employers should make a stronger commitment to empower military spouses by introducing flexible policies—such as supporting remote work locations and office transfers—to sustain those spouses, retain their services and allow them to thrive,” he continued.

The question remains, why is this population being left out when it comes to recruiting and retention strategies?

The answer of course, is multifaceted.

How hiring practices leave out mobile military spouses.

Military families move more frequently than the average American family. Most move to a new place every 2-3 years. Moving that often, I can say, is often exciting. But it’s also a burden when you are jumping from job to job, tracking down new daycare and school options and settling into a new home.

Mobility is also the reason many military spouses have worked in many different industries and for many different companies throughout their career (which could appear to a recruiter as a lack of loyalty). In fact, that couldn’t be further from the truth, military spouses are some of the most loyal workers you could find. Their diverse expertise can be an amazing asset for employers. But many military spouses don’t get past the initial gate when applying for jobs because of the negative impacts of automation.

For example, many AI resume scanners might see moving to different organizations every 2 years as a red flag and reject the application. Or, another example, a job description that requires 10 consecutive years of experience leave out military spouses who may have gaps in their resume but would still be a good fit for the role.

Empathy and flexibility when it comes to looking at the experience of military spouses will be key to hiring more military spouses. In addition, bringing forward the right benefits and flexible work programs will be the key to retaining this talented employee pool.

I had the opportunity to interview Amy Schwartz, a fellow military spouse and Senior People Partner at Articulate to discuss how employers can support military spouses in the workforce. Watch our interview below.


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If you’d like to learn more about supporting veterans in your workplace, who also require unique and personalized support, check out our white paper below.