I have issues with this. Do military spouses face challenges in both unemployment and underemployment? Yes, of course, we always have. However, military spouses have been hearing that old news for decades, and in my experience, times are changing. Companies actually will hire us, many actually want to, just not the antiquated ones that haven’t caught up with the current cultural shift.
I work in marketing for a remote staffing company, and part of my job is recruiting great people for our positions. One of our core audiences is military spouses. The thing is, when you get into this specific recruiting space, when you really research it and you don’t take articles like Ms. Ridley’s at face value, you actually learn, “Holy cow, there are SO MANY COMPANIES that actually DO want to hire military spouses!”
And I think therein lies the issue: Military spouses are accustomed to hearing that we’re “undesirable” hires, so we often give up. The reality is that we have a rapidly growing number of both resources and companies available to us. As military spouses, we just have to believe it’s possible and sniff out all the good companies who are ahead of the game, companies who realize the value we bring to the table.
So what’s changed? Why are military spouses actually in-demand now for some of today’s smartest employers?
Remote work has become mainstream
In the U.S. alone, 43% of the workforce has spent at least some time working remotely, and that number has steadily increased throughout recent years. Obviously, this is music to the ears of military spouses everywhere. When location isn’t an issue, it puts us on a level playing field with other candidates. It opens up opportunities outside of the stations chosen for us, and it offers upward mobility in our careers because we can finally stay with a company for the long-term. Remote work is THE answer for so many military spouses in our country and it’s becoming THE way to work for everyone. After so many years of fighting traditional work culture, the stars are aligning for our benefit!
Groups have recognized that the need for military spouses is just as great as for transitioning veterans
We’ve always known about the amazing initiatives by veterans groups and nonprofits to help transitioning service members find civilian careers. But now, a huge number of these groups have launched specific hiring initiatives for military spouses, recognizing that the need is equally as great.
The government is also jumping on board to help spouses who need an easier system of licensure transfer. In addition, the new MSRRA law and other initiatives help us to find and keep employment.
Companies have gotten wind of the fact that military spouses are freakin’ awesome employees
Out of curiosity, I asked my CEO at Worldwide101, “Why do you like hiring military spouses?” This is what she told me:
“Military spouses are some of our best candidates. They’re resourceful, adaptable, quick to learn, dedicated, loyal, grounded, and savvy. I don’t know why any company would hesitate in bringing on a candidate with those types of soft skills.”
And besides just being amazing humans capable of juggling one of the most hectic lifestyles imaginable, military spouses are also more educated than their civilian counterparts on average. Eighty-nine percent of active duty spouses having some college education or higher, and of those, 28% have a 4-year degree and 14% have an advanced degree.
More companies are catching on to the fact that if you give a military spouse the flexibility needed to accommodate their lifestyle, they will pay you back ten-fold by being an incredibly successful member of your team. Military spouses are hungry to work, especially in respected, challenging positions. Give us the opportunity to do that, and you’ll really see us shine.
Military spouses have used our resiliency and our resourcefulness to take matters into our own hands
I just have to give a round of applause to all the spouses out there helping other spouses. It’s obvious how resourceful milsos are when you see those who have successfully found a position with a great company slinging recommendations or starting online platforms or Facebook groups or even entire companies to help their fellow spouses out. Every recommendation or referral put out there combats military spouse unemployment, one job at a time. I’m not surprised, but I am thankful for all of the support within this community.
Audrey Fairbrother is the Marketing Manager for Worldwide101, a premium remote staffing company and winner of the 2018 When Work Works Award. Worldwide101 connects demanding founders and executives with highly skilled, meticulously matched talent. Connect with Audrey on LinkedIn or Twitter.