Some may view Memorial Day as the official start to summer, but this holiday also happens to be part of National Military Appreciation Month (NMAM). NMAM honors the current and former members of the U.S. Armed Forces, including those who have died in the pursuit of freedom. While this occasion is meant to honor our military forces, new research is showing that when it comes hiring this candidate pool they’re often discriminated against.
While the unemployment rate for civilian workers hovers at the 4% mark, the unemployment rate among military spouses is 16%, which is more than four times higher than the civilian unemployment rate.
According to a recent FlexJobs and Blue Star Families survey of more than 500 military spouses, nearly half (46%) of military spouses have felt discriminated against in their job search because they are military spouses. Not surprisingly then, 50% have also tried to hide the fact that they are military spouses from prospective employers during their job search.
Additional insights into this survey include:
- Ninety-one percent of military spouses say being a military spouse has had a negative impact on their career.
- Because of the difficulties associated with finding sustainable employment as a military spouse, 56% say at some point they have stopped trying to find a job.
- Sixty-five percent of military spouses have felt like they had no choice but to leave a job because it did not have work flexibility.
- Flexible schedule jobs (77%) are the most preferred type of flexible work arrangement for military spouses, followed by 100% remote work (71%), alternative schedules (41%), part-time work (40%), partial remote work (40%), and freelance work (22%).
- Thirty-two percent of military spouses have had to leave a job at least three times because of a military-related move.
Recruiters and employers should also be mindful of these two statistics before overlooking military spouses:
- Military spouses want to work—81% report that the primary reason they work is because of personal fulfillment, ahead of paying for basic necessities or saving for retirement.
- Military spouses are qualified—71% of respondents have at least a bachelor’s degree or higher, compared to only about 34% of the general U.S. population.
These findings are on par with recent Monster.com research, which highlighted the fact that military spouses are constantly overlooked because of constant relocation. Instead of overlooking this qualified talent pool, it may be time to readjust your workplace policies. By offering flexible work schedules, you’re not only catering to military spouses, but you’re also catering to digitally native Millennials and Gen Z candidates who have expressed interest in flexible working arrangements, as well.
“Military spouses face many unique challenges in maintaining and growing their professional careers, but flexible work arrangements can significantly improve their access to job opportunities,” says Sara Sutton, Founder and CEO of FlexJobs—in a press release announcing the findings. “Military spouses need support and viable job options. Remote work in particular can help bridge the gap for this group of valuable, talented, qualified professionals whose lives, because of their commitment to our country, do not necessarily fit within the traditional workplace model,” Sutton adds.
To learn more about this survey, click here.