Report: 90 percent of military spouses are underemployed or unemployed

There have been reports that the United States has a veteran unemployment problem, but what’s up with their spouses? According to research from the Military Officers Association of America (MOAA), things aren’t great. They are either out of work, unable to find a job or have to abandon their professional aspirations to do something else.

While a significant portion of this problem falls on the shoulders of female spouses, male spouses have to deal with this concern as well. Asher Weinberg’s commitment to be an attorney while being married to a Navy officer costs them more than $2,000 per move, between time spent preparing for the bar, paying for the exam and waiting to receive his license, ABC reported.

The unfortunate reality is, military spouses don’t feel that the Department of Defense is doing enough to support their job-seeking efforts, which are needed to cover day-to-day expenses.

“They push for mobile jobs, like being a nurse or a teacher,” Michelle Aikman told the news source. “Well, I didn’t want to be a nurse or a teacher. I wanted to be an engineer.”

Aikman avoided marrying her husband for more than a year because she didn’t want to sacrifice her placement at an engineering firm. Nowadays, she spends the bulk of her time helping other military spouses get through their permanent-change-of-station (PCS) moves, so they too can find work in the U.S.

“Of course, these PCS moves can adversely affect total personal income and career advancement, as well as create tendencies for higher unemployment,” MOAA’s report reads.

Before Aikman put her plans to become an engineer on the back burner, she explained that she avoided talking about her connection with the military during interviews, as it is illegal in 20 states for an interviewer to inquire about marital status. However, hiring managers do bring it up eventually, and her answer “ended the conversation.”

Military spouses understand why employers are reluctant to hire them, but MOAA survey respondents said that they shouldn’t have to spend time volunteering or working part-time jobs because of it.

Businesses that are looking to become more understanding of those involved with the military can use HR software solutions to find these job seekers. Simply putting an opening on the Department of Defense’s website is not enough if 46 percent of military spouses don’t think it is a great job searching resource.

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