Untapped Talent, Unlimited Potential: 6 Reasons to Work With/Hire Military Spouses
In recent years, employers across the country have shown their support for military veterans by building robust programs designed specifically for this audience. But there’s another audience within the military community that deserves the same support and attention: military spouses. This largely untapped candidate pool is frequently overlooked for employment, yet they are highly qualified and talented.
“The majority of the world has no idea the power, skill, grit and innovation that sits in this community,” said Army Spouse Erica McMannes, Co-Founder and Chief Operating Officer of Instant Teams. “It’s time they know.”
Military spouses often have gaps in their work history due to frequent moves, which can make it difficult for them to find employment options -- despite being more educated than most working Americans, according to a 2017 report by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation.
A 2021 report for the National Military Spouse Network found the military spouse unemployment rate is 25%, a full 10 percentage points higher than the U.S. unemployment peak of 14.7% in April 2020. But military spouses want to find fulfilling work that makes use of their skills - the report found that 60% of military spouses are seeking full- or part-time employment to supplement their family’s income.
Along with being highly educated and motivated, military spouses have other traits that can serve them and their employer well - many of which go far beyond the skill sets on their resumes.
“It can be argued that the loyalty and dedication a military spouse will give an organization exceeds that of their civilian counterpart,” said McMannes. “Plus, they possess so many additional characteristics that drive thriving organizations.”
Here are six of the valuable skills military spouses can bring to the workplace.
1. Military Spouses are Adaptable and Relatable
Military spouses are used to change in their lives. By default, they have to be adaptable and able to quickly acclimate to new situations. For example, they often move and find themselves in new situations; as a result, they are accustomed to seeking out connections and building relationships with people around them.
“Because military spouses find themselves in new environments, they can easily meet and relate to a wide range of people,” said Army Spouse Liza Rodewald, Co-Founder, and CEO of Instant Teams. “This enables them to establish connections and build relationships easily.”
This ability is a critical component in productive and efficient workplaces. Connected team members drive collaboration and nurture healthy work environments, which benefits the organization as a whole.
2. Military Spouses Have a Can-Do Attitude and Can Roll with the Punches
Along with being adaptable, many military spouses possess a can-do attitude that allows them to handle stress incredibly well. After all, they are constantly dealing with the stress of relocating, the stress of being in a new environment, and the stress of the unknown. Rather than becoming overwhelmed in their changing, often stressful environment, they take it in stride.
“I know things can change at a moment's notice, so it’s important that I am able to roll with the punches and adapt as needed,” said Coast Guard Spouse Danielle Bangs. “Military spouses can easily look at a problem as an opportunity and put a positive spin on whatever challenge arises. This is a benefit, both at home and at work.”
3. Military Spouses are Master Organizers
By nature, military spouses have mastered the art of organization. It’s a must as they juggle all that life throws at them, from balancing their kids’ schedules to keeping an eye on the family finances and everything in between. As a result, many military spouses have developed their own systems to help them stay organized and focused on the tasks at hand.
They can easily apply this organizational aptitude in workplace settings, with a focus on getting the job done efficiently.
4. Military Spouses are Resourceful and Creative
Their strong organizational skills also allow military spouses to be incredibly resourceful.
“If we don't know how to do something, we will work hard to find the answer,” said Bangs. “We simply can’t wait for someone to do it for us, whether it’s fixing the furnace on a cold winter night or prepping the house for an impending hurricane while your spouse is deployed.”
Military spouses are used to thinking outside the box to get things done. As they move forward, they rely on their own experiences and tap into their resolve, whether that’s solving a problem at home or responding to an issue at work.
5. Military Spouses are Accountable, Dedicated and Community-Oriented
Military spouses don’t crave attention and accolades, but rather focus on the common goal, values, and mission of whatever they’re working on. This trait is highly valuable and desirable for many employers, and something Rodewald experienced first-hand while building Instant Teams from the ground up.
“They are naturally mission-focused and dedicated, and want to ensure they are aligned with company goals,” she said. “You’ll never find a more dedicated group of professionals who bring such a strong community culture to a company and naturally become supporters of all employees on a team.”
What’s more, their community focus has led many military spouses to participate in volunteer training in areas such as public speaking, financial management, managing others, and more. This experience, combined with their traditional education, brings an additional value set to an organization and the people within.
6. Military Spouses are In Demand - and Tapping In Can Make You More Competitive
As more and more companies finally realize the benefits military spouses bring to their organizations, they are joining programs that promote access to this demographic. The Military Spouse Employment Partnership (MSEP), sponsored by the Department of Defense, has 500 partners that have committed to recruiting, hiring, and promoting military spouses within their organizations.
Companies that bring military spouses on board recognize their unique skill set and the positive impact they can have within the organization. Those that are unaware of this candidate pool, or continue to overlook it, could potentially be losing out on an opportunity to bring a distinctive demographic of educated, innovative, and motivated professionals onto their teams.