Originally published on Huffingtonpost.com
Last Friday, the Institute for Veterans and Military Families (IVMF) published the first in a three-part series regarding military spouse employment, titled The Force Behind the Force: A Business Case for Leveraging Military Spouse Talent.
The purpose of the study was: “to outline some of the positive and potentially business enhancing characteristics of military spouses related to employment, the unique assets they bring to the workplace, and to describe the compelling business case to recruit and ultimately hire them.“
Four key takeaways:
1.) Always a hot political topic, the gender wage gap is discussed each presidential election cycle (women earn between 79 and 94 cents for every dollar men make, depending on who you ask). For military spouses, it’s not a “wage gap”; it’s a “Wage Grand Canyon“ and has nothing to do with gender.
According to the IVMF report, female military spouses earn significantly less than their civilian female peers, given their educational level, with the exception of those with less than a high school education:
- Doctoral: 45 cents for every dollar their peer married to a civilian makes.
- Professional Degree: 55 cents
- Masters: 53 cents
- Bachelors: 60 cents
- Associate: 65 cents
- Some college: 64 cents
- High School/GED: 69 cents
- Less than HS/GED: $1.29
How these numbers haven’t been reported by any media is beyond me as I think these differences should be considered a national embarrassment.
2.) Military spouses have a significantly higher unemployment rate, roughly 3 times that of their civilian peers, due to:
- “transient lifestyle with frequent relocations”
- “Erratic and unpredictable military work and training schedules”
- “lack and cost of childcare”
- “responsibilities of single-parenting” due to military demands (deployments and training) on their active duty spouse
3.) “As a group, military spouses are educated, motivated to work, and have attributes that employers value. Understanding the demographics of military spouses, their unique challenges and assets is essential to developing a persuasive and successful hiring strategy that both benefits spouses and meets the needs of business simultaneously.“
4.) The study lists ten steps employers can take to help ameliorate the issue. Each of the ten listed were excellent best practices, but I couldn’t help but think that I would boil that list down to two:
- Hire them &
- Pay them what they are worth.
Read the next points on why Military Spouses Still Can’t Have It All here.