Explore the Benefits of Hiring Military Spouses
After completing this unit, you’ll be able to:
- Detail the business value of hiring military spouses.
- Identify national issues that hiring military spouses helps solve.
Military spouses are also educated and looking for work.
When you hire a military spouse, there is more value and benefit than just gaining a great employee. Your company is also helping solve national issues by:
- Increasing military retention
- Closing the gender gap
- Reducing the social cost of military spouse unemployment
“There are several attributes and characteristics that military spouses have that are both salient and relevant to the business environment. Attributes such resiliency, adaptable, educated, resourceful, team-oriented, entrepreneurial, and social awareness all complement performance in any competitive business environment.” —Rosalinda Maury, Director of Applied Research and Analytics, IVMF
Now that you have a deeper understanding of the military spouse experience, let’s connect the dots to identify how these experiences translate to the workplace.
Broad skill set: They’re also skilled, either from training they’ve received or from working in many industries throughout their frequent moves.
Project management expertise: Military spouses are often the executors of their frequent moves, planning logistics and travel, managing the transfer to new schools and doctors, searching for housing in a brand-new area, and researching entitlements and filing claims against the moving company. (So. Many. Claims.)
Extreme adaptability: The soft skills gained through learning to thrive in a world of uncertainty is unmatched. They aren’t rattled by changes, thriving is first nature, and pressure doesn’t faze them.
Diverse background: Not only do military spouses come from every state, region, race, religion, and ethnicity, but they’ve also lived in communities whose cultures can vary from their own. This oftentimes creates a deep respect for different cultures and ways of life.
Loyalty and commitment: They’re mission-driven, dutiful, and believe in working for the greater good. When a company hires a military spouse and works with them to meet the demands of their lifestyle, they earn an extremely loyal employee.
Team player: Military families stick together and create strong bonds despite sometimes only knowing each other for a few months. They volunteer together and rally around others during times of need. This approach carries well into the work environment where teamwork is critical.
Natural networker: With every move comes the opportunity to make new friends and business contacts. This does not happen naturally for some. But military spouses take actionable steps to meet new people and often go outside of their comfort zone to connect with their new community.
Hiring military spouses isn’t just good for your business, it also helps solve national issues.
Social Cost of Unemployment and Underemployment
Blue Star Families, a nonprofit that supports military families, released a report that calculates the societal cost of military spouse unemployment and underemployment. It ranges from $710 million to $1.07 billion per year in the United States. This includes unemployment income paid at the state level, and a loss of taxable income at the federal level. Check out the report on Social Cost Analysis of the Unemployment and Underemployment of Military Spouses.
Studies show a connection between unemployment and negative effects on mental health. This impacts wellness, resilience, and care of the whole family unit and their extended circles. The Blue Star Families study mentioned above estimates that the treatment of these physical and mental health concerns add up to $77 million in federally funded healthcare costs.
“Besides the financial challenges, there’s also an emotional cost of forced job transitions. Finding meaningful work that they can be passionate about is important to many people, and military spouses are no different! We want to feel like what we do makes a difference to our companies and our communities. But when your community changes every 2–4 years, it can be hard to feel like you’re making an impact.” —Skye Evans, Salesforce Consultant and military spouse
Military spouse unemployment also affects national security! The U.S. Chamber of Commerce reports that when a married service member considers whether to stay in the service or separate, it’s a decision made as a family. And one of the top factors that influences their decision is the ability for both spouses to have stable careers. When highly trained and qualified members of the military leave the service, it increases the cost to maintain the all-volunteer force.
“81% of military spouses and their service member have discussed the possibility of leaving the military. […] That is a high number and it’s a warning sign that we need to think about. To maintain a strong all-volunteer force, we need to ensure that both our service members and their spouses and families feel that the military is an advantageous career opportunity for the entire family.” —J.D. Crouch II, President and CEO, USO
Fifty percent of female spouses surveyed by Blue Star Families say that traditional gender-based roles in the household have an effect on their ability to find employment. Combine that with the difficulty of finding childcare due to frequent relocations, female military spouses have multiple roadblocks to attaining meaningful employment.
The World Economic Forum is working to increase gender parity in the workplace. They call on companies to take actionable measures in order for the future of work to have a gender balance.
Equality is a core value here at Salesforce and we strongly believe that it is in the best interest of companies to address gender equality in the workplace.
“Military spouses are unemployed at a rate of 4x their civilian counterparts. With a population that’s 92% female, at times it becomes a women’s empowerment issue. As we work to solve for this subset of a population we strongly believe we are solving issues that impact American civilians across the country.” —Elizabeth O’Brien, Senior Director of the Military Spouse Program, Hiring Our Heroes, an U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation initiative
Diversity in the Workplace
Because the vast majority of military spouses are female, and almost half are racially or ethnically diverse, hiring a military spouse can help companies achieve their mission to increase the diversity of their workforce, and increase the national average of women and minorities in the workforce.