Retaining Military Spouses

When a veteran’s duty station changes, military spouses are not necessarily ready for a career change. One Air Force spouse quoted in Blue Star Families’ 2013 Military Family Lifestyle Survey Report indicates that she has had to turn down “numerous promotions due to PCSs [Permanent Changes of Station].” She adds that it’s “impossible to move up; I’m constantly starting at the bottom when I look for employment.”

A military spouse does not need to be a temporary hire.

A military spouse does not need to be a temporary hire. The desire to maintain a steady career path is clearly strong for military spouses, and many are eager to find portable jobs. Recently, employers have implemented initiatives to retain military spouses, such as converting an office job to a work-from-home position, offering job relocation assistance for spouses, hiring “virtual” employees or providing on-site daycare. Companies including USAA, Capital One and Verizon Communications have also offered part-time employment for spouses during the veteran’s deployment. While these retention efforts are not suitable for every company, they are just examples of ways different organizations hire and keep these resilient and loyal workers.

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Many efforts are also in place to address obstacles to state-by-state licensing and certification. This will make it easier for spouses to continue their career in spite of relocation. Recently, the Virginia Supreme Court eased licensing requirements for military spouse attorneys in the commonwealth and the National Capital Region. As licensing policies are made more flexible, military spouse careers in fields like education, law, and health care gain longevity.

Working to retain a high-quality employee ultimately enables a company to conserve resources. It reduces training costs and avoids the loss in productivity incurred when a company must search for a new employee. Retention is beneficial to all parties involved, providing military spouses with the ability to contribute to their family’s well-being, and enabling an organization to keep talented individuals who contribute to the overall success of the company.