The Obama era ended with steady job growth for American workers, but military spouse employment did not enjoy similar benefits. In 2016, military spouse unemployment reached 12.04%. That’s three times higher than the national average of 4.7% reported in December. While Obama’s final jobs report portrays a strong economy, it excludes the fact that military spouses are still struggling to find and keep meaningful employment.
First, the problem:
Military spouses face two troubling concerns: unemployment and underemployment. On average, a military family will move 8 to 12 times over a 20-year career. So, spouses cycle in and out of employment as they prepare for and recover from military moves. Remote and overseas duty stations compound the problem of finding work which matches their skills. Across the services, 38% of military spouses are underemployed relative to their education level. And it’s estimated that military spouse unemployment and underemployment costs taxpayers approximately $1 billion annually due to lost tax revenue and unemployment compensation. While national reports show job growth and wage improvements, much work remains for military spouse employment.
Now, a solution:
Military life makes it hard for spouses to fit into traditional work environments. Luckily, remote work is on the rise. It’s estimated that half of the workforce will work remotely by 2020 at least part-time. This trend is positive for military spouses because:
1. Remote workers run the gamut of freelance to full-time, and entry-level to executive. Military spouses can find work, especially in tech, with or without a college degree.
2. Remote work environments offer flexibility. Careers will not have to be sacrificed during PCS moves or unpredictable deployment/training schedules. A perk that gives spouses more control over their future.
3. Remote workers can work from anywhere, anytime. This flexibility particularly effects spouses stationed at remote or overseas installations who can seek challenging and exciting work for a fair wage despite their location.
Remote work isn’t a trend that’s likely to fade anytime soon thanks to technology advancements. In fact, many military spouse companies and nonprofits were founded on an all-remote philosophy, and today employ spouses in almost every time zone. Blue Star Families is one example. They employ a whole host of remote workers for content creation, digital education, web development, customer support and more. Perks for businesses include more qualified applicants and reduced overhead costs. It’s a win-win and a trend that’s on the rise. Not only is hiring military spouses for remote work worth a try, it’s worth the money.
At Instant Teams, the number one platform for military spouses to find remote jobs, we live the employment struggles every day. In 2017, let’s take a new approach to military spouse employment. We can, and should, rise above the traditional challenges and find innovative ways to connect military friendly employers to talented spouses who want to work. Remote work is a good first step.
Find a talented military spouse to join your remote team, today!