Military Spouse Career JourneysExamining Entrepreneurship, Remote Work, and Upskilling as Drivers of Economic Success for Military Spouses
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There are many sacrifices involved with military service, but one of the less-appreciated ones is the toll it takes on the careers of military spouses.
Seven in 10 military spouses report they had taken jobs that were “uninteresting, low paying, or below their skill level,” in a study released by Burning Glass Technologies and Hiring Our Heroes with support from Grow with Google and Google.org. Approximately one-third of military spouses whose partner had already retired or left the service indicated that supporting their spouses’ career was a major factor in the decision.
But there are solutions. A number of occupations can be good opportunities for military spouses. These include careers in Business Management and Operations, Human Resources, and Marketing and Public Relations, according to Burning Glass job data analysis.
Entitled Examining Entrepreneurship, Remote Work, and Upskilling as Drivers of Economic Success for Military Spouses, the research project utilized a survey of 1,522 military spouses, in-depth qualitative focus groups, and an analysis of Burning Glass’ proprietary set of 2019 job postings collected from approximately 40,000 websites.
The study, which was completed prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, found that many of the problems military spouses face foreshadow what has happened in the broader economy. Military spouses have long struggled to find the remote and flexible work options that the rest of the country has been forced to adapt. The creativity and resilience these spouses have shown can be a useful guide in the post-COVID work world.
The report identified several recommendations for improving employment prospects for military spouses:
- Increase opportunities for military spouses to pursue remote and flexible work. In the survey, seven out of 10 military spouses indicated that they have held a job with set hours and a physical workplace (what some may consider a “typical” 9-to-5 office job) in recent years, but less than 10% considered this “ideal.” Accordingly, online platforms should be used to identify and prioritize occupations that offer military spouses remote work opportunities, and employers should be provided with tools to offer more remote work opportunities.
- Streamline employment resources available to military spouses to make the process easier for them to navigate. Additionally, more online coaching and mentoring should be made available to military spouses.
- Provide resources and training to encourage entrepreneurship, and offer more outreach to military spouses about loan options that can enable them to open their own businesses. Most military spouses don’t leverage the loans available to start businesses. While one in four military spouses is pursuing an entrepreneurial or self-employment career, fewer than 6% relied on loans to launch their businesses, even though they are eligible for Small Business Administration loans that do not involve personal savings.
- Target training and education to help military spouses find employment that tends to fit their lifestyle and skills in several in-demand industries.