A Program of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation

Best Bets: Military Spouse Careers, 2018

Military Spouses have long faced employment challenges. Frequent moves, remote duty locations, and state licensing requirements make it difficult if not impossible to find a job or advance a career. To meet their unique needs, Hiring Our Heroes, in partnership with Burning Glass Technologies and with the financial support of La Quinta Inns & Suites, conducted a detailed analysis to identify the best career opportunities for military spouses. Our analysis not only includes factors like geography and portability, but also examines careers with the greatest number of jobs, projected job growth, salary and easy of entry.

Beginning in June 2018, HOH will release a series of lists focused on the “best bets” for military spouse careers. The first list, released at the 2018 Military Spouse Employment Summit, examines professional careers not requiring a state license.

Military Spouses in the Workplace, 2017

To better understand the military spouse employment landscape, HOH surveyed 1,273 spouses of active duty military service members and recent veterans to discover the challenges they face and the effects of military spouse unemployment and underemployment on military recruitment and retention.

Key findings include:

  • Unemployment and underemployment continue to be significant challenges for most military spouses. Many are in part time or seasonal positions when they would prefer full time or permanent work.
  • Military spouses with degrees face the greatest challenges in nearly every measurable employment category. They face the highest rates of unemployment and the most difficulty finding meaningful work.
  • Moves between duty stations play havoc on careers. Not only do most military spouses have to quit jobs because of a move, they face long periods of unemployment after the move.
  • Like most American families, military families want and need two incomes – something that is much harder for military families to achieve.
  • The lack of employment opportunities creates stress and influences a family’s decision to stay In or leave the military – factors that ultimately hurt military readiness, retention, and recruiting.

Veterans in the Workplace, 2016

To bridge the gap between employers and their veteran workforces, Hiring Our Heroes (HOH) surveyed 400 human resources professionals and hiring managers to understand how businesses recruit and retain veterans and identify any misperceptions that exist about those veterans. In addition, HOH surveyed 1,000 veterans who have transitioned from the military within the last five years to assess the success of their transitions and discover challenges they faced.

Key findings include:

  • American businesses have made tremendous strides over the last five years as they work to recruit veterans into their workforce. Veterans are now ranked as a top three recruiting target for companies, underscoring the commitment to and investment in veterans being made by American businesses.
  • A civilian-military divide still exists, and greater efforts are required as veterans are onboarded into a civilian work environment, such as providing training to help co-workers understand the unique attributes of military service.
  • Veterans continue to face challenges as they transition from the military, but the survey results show a clear relationship between a successful transition and when transitioning service members start their job search. Those who begin to plan for transition early (more than six months before separation) fare better than those who wait.
  • Female veterans appear to have greater difficulty finding their first post-military job compared with their male counterparts. They also reported higher instances of being ecomonically worse off after military service. The data warrants further analysis into whether female veterans experience greater challenges during transition.

Veteran Employment Transition Roadmap

The George W. Bush Institute’s Military Service Initiative (MSI) partnered with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation's Hiring Our Heroes initiative to work with a host of public, private, and non-profit sector partners to capture and consolidate the essential steps transitioning service members and veterans must take to do their part to bridge the gap between supply and demand. By clearly and concisely illustrating the employment transition process for warriors, this coalition seeks to educate, inform, empower, and call to action all key stakeholders in how they can help close the veteran employment gap and narrow the civilian-military divide.

About the George W. Bush Institute’s Military Service Initiative

The Bush Institute’s Military Service Initiative (MSI) honors the service and sacrifice of post-9/11 veterans and Military Families by bridging the civilian-military divide and fostering a successful transition and reintegration from military service to civilian life. Through research, policy development, programs, and Presidential recognition, MSI informs, influences and unites, Communities, Non-Profits, Businesses, Academia and Philanthropy to maximize the Health and Well-being of Post-9/11 Veterans and Military Families, setting the conditions for a successful transition and their continued leadership as civilians.