May 10 is National Military Spouse Appreciation Day and what better way to show your appreciation by giving this special candidate pool a job! Military spouses are a valuable asset to any company, yet they are consistently being overlooked for a variety of reasons. We’ll discuss some of these reasons and how you can overcome this bias to recruit the skilled workers you need today.
Monster and Military.com recently conducted a survey to gather first-hand knowledge of the factors that affect military spouses’ job searches and workforce experiences. The data was used to create a new research report titled, Military Spouse Employment Survey 2019. The survey report found that many employers are overlooking this talent pool because of the constant relocation needs of a military family.
According to the report, the average military family moves twice in a 10-year period. While that may not sound like a lot, remember that’s just an average. Military families move frequently and when you factor in the average cost of hiring and training new workers, it’s no wonder employers fail to take into account the value of this talent pool.
Furthermore, 74% of military spouse survey respondents say they face significant challenges when finding work after a move, and 71% say it’s difficult to establish a clear career path with a company when he or she is constantly moving.
But it doesn’t have to be this way! With the advances in technology, more employers are entering the digital landscape and offering telecommuting opportunities to its workforce. Employers who offer this option are more likely to land long-term military spouses—no matter where the spouse may move to in the future—as they’ll be digitally connected.
Allowing military workers the opportunity to telecommute full-time also allows them to feel confident with long-term career goals and provides them with a sense of stability—as these workers won’t have to worry about finding a new job on the next move.
Single Parent Status
While relocation can be a burden on the employment spectrum, for families that face a deployment a new problem arises—the remaining spouse is now responsible for raising the children, essentially making this spouse a single parent.
According to roughly 70% of respondents, finding a job that offers flexibility for military spouses to care for their family is difficult. If you’re looking to employ military spouses, try offering a flexible schedule to accommodate their unique lifestyle.
Another option to help attract and retain this talent pool—or any talent pool for that matter—is to offer child care benefits. When workers know they have a reliable source for child care (and a source that could be partially or fully paid by the employer), he or she is less likely to feel financially burdened. Also, these workers will be less stressed about trying to juggle a job and making sure their kids are cared for at the same time.
How Do Spouses Hunt for Jobs?
With constant relocation, job hunting presents a new challenge for military spouses: how to find a job in the new location. Military spouses do not differ from your average jobseeker. These days the most common way to find a new job is through online career sites—according to 63% of respondents.
The report also found the only 11% of respondents are using nonprofits to help them connect with employers. The report says that this could signal an opportunity for private and nonprofit employers to work together to help promote military spouse employment. One example of these types of partnerships could be offering networking opportunities specifically for the military community.
Employers can partner with military placement firms to host the events and these jobseekers come away feeling more confident about new employment. Half of survey respondents who have taken part in these events say it makes it easier for them to find jobs. Not only are networking events beneficial for employment, but they also help military families feel more connected to the community in a new location.
“Military spouses don’t want to be viewed as a special cause; however they hope an employer would take their family situation into consideration and provide accommodations like more flexibility when their skills and career interests match a job opening,” says the report. “For employers to succeed in attracting and recruiting military spouses, they should consider which roles do not require a specific location and can have more flexible hours. By creating more versatile, portable positions, jobs can move with the spouse as they relocate with the military. Employers will be better able to retain military spouses when they relocate.”
If you’re struggling to attract and retain talent, it may be time to adjust your policies and look at new talent pools to help fill the void, what better pool to start with than military spouses.