Why Smart Employers Hire (and Retain) Military Spouses

Looking to find skilled talent with traits like resilience and dedication?

Military spouses often develop a diverse skill set through various experiences and challenges, making them adaptable and versatile employees. Hiring military spouses not only benefits the individuals but also enriches your workplace with diverse talents and perspectives.

We sat down with USAA Talent Programs Advisor Strategist Chryssy Johnson to discuss how hiring military spouses can positively impact your workplace. A military spouse herself, Johnson joined USAA in 2010 when her husband was stationed in the San Antonio area. As part of USAA’s HR talent acquisition team, she supports the organization’s military spouse hiring initiatives and military veteran hiring strategies. 

Watch Johnson’s interview about hiring military spouses:

What do employers often misunderstand when it comes to hiring a military spouse? 

Chryssy Johnson: Military spouses are often overlooked. They possess proficiencies and talent that are desirable qualities for any organization. Not only are they committed and dedicated, but they also hold values and core attributes that prove a business case. 

Last time I checked, the data showed a 34% unemployment rate for the military spouse community. However, military spouses on average have higher formal education, are highly adaptable, and can easily manage stressful situations. They have broad and diverse skill sets and are passionate, committed, and resilient. 

What is a common obstacle for hiring managers and how can they overcome it?  

CJ: Military spouses often have non-linear career paths or skillsets that are seemingly absent or mismatched. 

Some common misconceptions about military spouses are that they’re job hoppers or unreliable because of some breaks in employment on their resumes. But within these “breaks,” a military spouse may have been volunteering or done some additional nonprofit work.  

As an employer, there will be gaps on a military spouse resume. And there may also be nonlinear career paths to address and overcome. Make sure that you have a dedicated military talent team with somebody that knows how to read military spouse resumes.  

What are some ways to make sure you hire for the long term when it comes to this group? 

CJ: Again, I recommend having a dedicated military hiring team, including somebody who reads resumes and understands that those gaps and non-linear career paths are not necessarily a bad thing. 

Then, provide support where you can. A couple of examples include inviting guest speakers to coach about healthy mindsets, or optimizing the workplace to assist spouses who may have loved ones who are deployed. 

Retaining this talent through frequent military moves will require hybrid and remote flexibility. 

How does USAA support their military spouse community? 

CJ: At USAA, we have a robust internal military spouse community. Some have their spouse deployed currently. Some have recently made a PCS (permanent change of station) move, some are about to PCS, but all of them have amazing stories that support their grit and determination. 

Why does USAA partner with RecruitMilitary?

CJ: RecruitMilitary has been a valuable partner from the publications that offer valuable insights, to job fairs, to comprehensive resources to the military community.  Organizations such as RecruitMilitary provide a community of connection to help employers find amazing talent from our military communities. They are passionate about the military community and delivering the solutions and resources to be impactful to the military civilian hiring space. 


Connect with Military Spouses at an upcoming job fair.