We are living in a time where current national unemployment rates are at historic lows, below 4% in recent months. The labor market is tight, especially for information workers. As hiring managers we see this every day, with longer durations for hiring cycles, fewer candidates, and even when we can make offers, we often find out that a candidate has already accepted an offer elsewhere. Things move so fast! So, we have to ask ourselves: Where can we find untapped talent?
As I have been working on promoting the value of veterans and what they bring to the table, I’ve noticed a largely underserved community—military spouses. These are candidates that come from various backgrounds and are often overlooked due to multiple job shifts as their partner was reassigned from base to base. According to a study done by Military One Source, “Of all spouses in the civilian labor force, 24 percent (24%) of Active Duty civilian spouses are unemployed.”* That is nearly five times the national average. Perhaps it’s not that there is a shortage of talent, but that we are overlooking talent that is already available.
So how do we become more inclusive to military spouses? They face several challenges that lead to fewer hiring outcomes. Hiring managers often look at candidates who have changed jobs frequently as undependable, or someone who can’t commit to a specific career path. If we take a moment to dive deeper, we will also see a candidate who is adaptable and determined to keep their career in motion, while living the life of a military spouse.
I would suggest that we need to learn how to examine our candidates’ shifts, transitions, and moves as strengths and not faults. Often military spouses have been forced to become quick at ramping up in a new role every time their spouse moves to a new base, and can adapt to accelerated learning curves. Additionally, the typical wide range of employers has given these candidates exposure to an equally wide range of business challenges and different industries, which leads to increased problem-solving skills. Our commitment to remote working has allowed us to benefit from this candidate pool in our own hiring processes, as the work we are trying to fill is no longer geographically limited by military base locations.
At Projectline Services we have found that when veterans and military spouses find an organization that values them and is willing to work with them on their career path, the loyalty is clear. These are employees that are willing to make it work, put in the effort, and show their dedication time and time again. As an organization, you can support a community that is underserved and highly dedicated, and with technology on our side, the current workforce is easily adaptable to remote work.
In an article for Entrepreneur magazine, Lida Citroën sums it up: “Hiring managers and recruiters must recognize that a military spouse has picked up where [they] left off in each job, learned to re-network into new communities and therefore tends to have broad and diverse skills. Companies looking to take advantage of a highly committed, passionate and resilient workforce are advised to consider and make an effort to attract military spouses.”
Interested in learning more about diversity and inclusion or remote working? Check out these related blogs:
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The Future of Work is Diverse
Remote is the New Normal
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