Recruitment

While veterans have among the lowest unemployment rates in the country, military spouses face a 22% unemployment rate

Frequent relocation can result in additional barriers, including résumé gaps and loss of professional licenses (to practice in fields such as law and medicine).
article cover

Mangostar_studio/Getty Images

· 3 min read

HR is challenging. HR news doesn’t have to be.

HR Brew keeps you effective in the fast-changing business environment.

Over the years, there have been a variety of campaigns promoting hiring military veterans. Organizations like Hire Heroes USA connect veterans with jobs, while efforts including the Department of Defense’s SkillBridge program have readied veterans to reenter the civilian workforce.

These initiatives seem to be working: The veteran unemployment rate was just 2.7% in October 2022, according to the Labor Department, below the national average of 3.6%. The employment situation for their spouses, however, is much different.

The situation. AT&T, USAA, and UnitedHealth Group are among the employers that have traditionally had strong veteran recruitment programs. AT&T has a veterans ERG, according to Military.com, and all three organizations have created veteran-specific job-search portals, making it easier for HR departments to consciously connect with this group of candidates.

“They have great transferable skills, plus they bring additional skills of leadership, flexibility, dedication, and all the other intangibles that veterans bring,” Patrick Krug, veterans community network lead at Bristol Myers Squibb, told the Military Times.

Recruiters once relied on job fairs to connect with veterans, the outlet reported, but when the Covid-19 pandemic forced them to scale back on in-person events, they had to change their approach.

“[Beyond] those large convention center fairs, you’re going to see a blended approach from now on,” Lindsey Streeter, who leads military affairs strategy at Bank of America, told the Military Times. He said that Bank of America had already expanded its remote recruiting strategies, using tactics like virtual job fairs to meet veterans where they are, which helped it transition its veteran recruiting during the pandemic.

What about military spouses? Despite the low unemployment rate among veterans, around 22% of military spouses are unemployed, according to the D’Aniello Institute for Veterans & Military Families at Syracuse University.

The DOD’s Military Spouse Employment Partnership, which connects employers to military spouses, suggests that the rate at which military spouses relocate is often their biggest barrier to securing a career. Frequent relocation can result in additional barriers, including résumé gaps and loss of professional licenses (to practice in fields such as law and medicine). A lack of affordable childcare might also hinder their employment.

HR can help. Researchers from Syracuse University recommend that recruiters send a strong message to job-seekers about being “military-spouse friendly.” One way to go about doing that: providing remote work opportunities, especially to military spouses who might be based outside the US.

One company trying to do its part is Wells Fargo. In May, the financial services company launched a program focused on recruiting military spouses for hybrid and remote roles in areas including HR, consumer lending, and technology.—KP

Do you work in HR or have information about your HR department we should know? Email [email protected] or DM @Kris10Parisi on Twitter. For completely confidential conversations, ask Kristen for her number on Signal.

HR is challenging. HR news doesn’t have to be.

HR Brew keeps you effective in the fast-changing business environment.