Tips for Hiring Military Spouses: What Employers Should Know
It’s a common scenario – you’re sorting through job applicants to narrow down to the best candidates for an open role. In front of you is a resume reflecting a highly educated individual with a wide range of applicable skills, but there are some serious gaps in their employment timeline. Is this candidate worth pursuing?
Of course! Delving deeper may reveal that the candidate was honing skillsets, volunteering in their community, or perhaps even studying for a certification during that time. Skipping over resumes like this may mean you are overlooking an incredible talent group: Military spouses.
Who are military spouses?
Military Spouses are the people married to an active-duty service member in the United States military. Though they are not always women, over 90% are.
There are roughly 710k active-duty military spouses as of 2022. Of those:
- 53% participate in the workforce (compared to 76% of the general population)
- 35% are looking for either full or part-time work
- 63% of those in the workforce are underemployed
- 80% have at least some college
- 30% hold a four-year degree
- 15% have a graduate degree
Why should companies hire military spouses?
Military spouses bring a number of key skills to the workplace. Chryssy Johnson, Talent Programs Advisor at USAA, explains that military spouses “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.”
Johnson joined USAA as a military spouse herself, when her husband was stationed in the San Antonio area. Now she supports the organization’s military spouse hiring initiative and military veteran hiring strategies.
“Currently, USAA has over 19% military spouse and veteran representation.” Johnson describes this group as “highly adaptable and can easily manage stressful situations. They have broad and diverse skill sets and are passionate, committed, and resilient.”
Common challenges when hiring military spouses
Every two to three years, military families receive Permanent Change of Duty Station (or PCS) orders, which require them to relocate to a different military base (including overseas). These frequent moves often result in employment gaps or lapses on a military spouse's resume.
PCS moves also explain any industry or “job hopping”, since many of these candidates had to take the best job available in their location. Even if it seems inconsistent on paper, it is important to recognize their transferrable skills obtained through their professional experiences. Military spouses are adaptable, not inconsistent. And in the era of remote employment, these candidates are primed to shine at your organization.
What skills does a military spouse have?
Underemployment (working beneath one’s skill level) affects at least 63% of military spouses in the labor force. While military spouses are individuals and will have different levels of experience, the biggest mistake employers make is pushing these candidates into entry-level roles.
Due to their complex lifestyles, military spouses are resilient, adaptable, trainable, and responsible— but they are also subject matter experts in:
- Time Management
- Project Management
- Community Service
Where to Hire a Military Spouse
As mentioned above, the benefit of hiring military spouses into your organization is multifaceted. They are a ready and determined candidate group who bring skills to the workplace that they’ve mastered from the unpredictability of military life.
At RecruitMilitary, we offer a number of ways to meet and connect with military spouse candidates, but one of the most popular is through our military-exclusive job fairs. See our 2023 job fair schedule, including a military spouse-specific virtual career fair!
Our partnerships open more avenues that bring military spouses into the RecruitMilitary ecosphere. These partnerships with non-profit organizations including:
- BlueStar Families
- Department of Defense Military Spouse Employment Program
- Syracuse University Institute for Veterans and Military Families
As with hiring veterans, employing military spouses is a smart way to find the talent that your competitors are missing. In a job market where recruiters are clamoring for candidates, military spouses can deliver with an array of skills that apply to a wide range of fields. By necessity military spouses have become adaptable leaders who can handle pressure.
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