The Difference Between Hiring Veterans and Hiring Military Spouses


Chapter 1: Why Hire Military Spouses to Build Your Dream Team

The military-connected community contains millions of veterans and military spouses from across the world. Each member of this community comes with his or her own educational background, as well as personal and professional experiences. Many members of the military-connected community are highly educated, are experienced leaders, and have adaptable personalities. Despite these traits, the military-connected community is often overlooked during a company’s hiring process. This article will go into detail covering the benefits of hiring from the military-connected community, the difference between hiring veterans and hiring military spouses, and how your company can benefit from hiring from this unique, untapped talent pool.

Military Spouse Employment Statistics

Before we get into the benefits of hiring military spouses and how they can allow you to build your dream team, it’s important to understand the landscape of military spouse employment and the opportunities that exist, or the lack thereof.

40% Hold a College or Professional Degree

Many military spouses are highly educated, with 40% holding a college degree compared to 29.7% of the civilian population. An additional 34.4% of military spouses have received some college education. Contrary to popular belief, it is actually military spouses who received higher degrees that are more likely to face unemployment. According to the US Chamber of Commerce Foundation, 51% of those who completed high school or less have faced unemployment as a military spouse, 67% of those who completed college faced unemployment, and 70% of those who completed a professional degree or graduate-level education have faced unemployment. As a candidate’s level of education increases, there are fewer positions that meet their qualifications. In comparison to the general population of college graduates, only 2.1% face unemployment. This means that most companies are missing out on a large pool of educated candidates by overlooking military spouses.

Unemployment Rate of 26%

Military spouses constantly hear the same response during job interviews: “You’re a military spouse? Does that mean you’re going to have to leave in a year?” The lack of flexibility in the job market has made it difficult for military spouses to find and keep a job they enjoy, leading to high rates of unemployment. Military spouses face unemployment rates of 26%, while the country’s unemployment rate is 4.0%. That’s a disheartening difference, yet there is little discussion among companies and economists about reducing the unemployment rate of military spouses, especially in comparison to the number of conversations about the country’s general unemployment rate. However, if more companies were to increase the flexibility in their work environment to include fully remote positions, military spouses would be easy to retain despite their required travels.

90% Are Underemployed

Although most military spouses are intelligent, many struggle to find work that actually fits the challenging career that they desire. 90% of military spouses have skill sets and knowledge that is beyond the requirements of their current job. In comparison, 34% of college graduates in the general US population face underemployment, and only 12.6% of all those 18 and older in the US population face underemployment. Even military spouses with years of professional experience, who have contracted million dollar projects, and bought and sold businesses can only find work stocking shelves. With the likelihood of switching companies and jobs due to frequent moving, it’s tough to advance a career if you have to start from scratch every couple of years. Additionally, depending on where troops are stationed, there may not be many companies or options to choose from, limiting the ability to find positions that are qualified for their skill sets. Both of these factors contribute to the high rate of underemployment.

Because military spouses are overqualified but underemployed, they make up a large untapped pool of professional talent. There are several great partnership programs, resources, and companies that are dedicated to helping military spouses find work. Instant Teams, for example, was built specifically for helping the military-connected community find remote work and is a great resource for finding professionals from within this talent pool. Companies can gain a lot of talent and experience by hiring military spouses for their teams.


Benefits of Hiring Military Spouses


Military spouses have learned how to be flexible and adaptable to any situation. Once their husband or wife receives a PCS (permanent change of station) order, they have to be ready to manage the house, finances, and family independently. With frequent moves every few years, military spouses have also become great at adapting to new environments, new cultures, and new people. Especially for industries that are constantly changing, military spouses make great employees and can bring new ideas to the table and help shift a product, service, or company to the changing industry.

High Retention Rates and ROI

Despite popular belief, military spouses can be retained at the same level or higher than the general population. On average, military spouses move every two to four years. However, the average civilian employee will only stay at one company for 4.2 years, and that retention rate is even lower for Millennials, who stay at one company for an average of 2.8 years. When you compare military spouses to the general population, their retention is at least equal to their counterparts. If you hire a military spouse for a remote position, you could keep them even longer!

Open to Contract and Project-Based Work

Contract and project-based work can be very difficult jobs to fill. Many professionals are looking for more than a one-time project not just because of the consistent income but because they need other benefits that these types of jobs don’t offer. But military spouses already have awesome benefits from being a part of the military community, which makes them more open to this type of work. Contract and project-based positions need to be filled by innovative and self-motivated employees, just like any other position, in order to drive performance and continue to grow. Military spouses are a great solution for this common challenge.


Top Companies Hiring Military Spouses

Military spouses hold a lot of talent, which is why top companies from around the US are hiring them. Wondering what companies have already committed to hiring military spouses? Here are 2019’s top 10 companies that were recognized as Military Spouse Friendly Employers:

  1. Combined Insurance Company of America
  2. United Rentals, Inc.
  3. Aviall (a Boeing Company)
  4. Leidos
  5. Verizon
  6. Motel 6/Studio 6
  7. USAA
  8. Allstate
  9. Prudential Financial
  10. Camping World

More and more companies are learning that this untapped pool of talent is a huge asset to their organization and are taking action to diversify their teams by hiring military spouses.

Military Spouse Employment Statistics

Before we get into the benefits of hiring military spouses and how they can allow you to build your dream team, it’s important to understand the landscape of military spouse employment and the opportunities that exist, or the lack thereof.


Chapter 2: How Hiring Veterans Can Add Value to Your Team

Despite the value, diversity, leadership capabilities, and other benefits that veterans can add to any company’s team, they also face a rocky landscape for employment opportunities.

Veteran Employment Statistics

28.8% Hold a Bachelor’s Degree or Higher

Veterans are highly educated, with 28.8% holding a Bachelor’s degree or higher which is approximately 5.2 million veterans! Veterans are incredibly diverse in the industries they work in and the fields that they have studied. But veterans have also gained a lot of knowledge outside of their formal education through pursuing management positions within the military. The experience they have gained from leading and mentoring other military members also gives them great potential to be a leader at any company.

One-Third are Underemployed

Veterans, like military spouses, also face challenges of underemployment. One-third of all veterans are underemployed, a rate that is 15.6% higher than non-veterans seeking work. The reasons for this high underemployment rate vary. Some argue that it could be due to the transition process. When they retire from the military, they need to find work immediately in order to replace their earnings, so they take a sub-optimal position rather than remaining unemployed. In addition, veterans who are returning from overseas may not have large professional networks to find and apply to a company that has available positions for their skill sets.

Unemployment Rate of 3.7%

After retiring from their military careers, veterans can face unemployment challenges. Approximately 3.7% of veterans are unemployed as of 2019. This is slightly lower than the national unemployment rate of 4%, but still accounts for millions of veterans who have served our country and now face challenges in finding work.



Benefits of Hiring Veterans

With a broad background in leadership and team management as well as technical expertise, there are numerous benefits to hiring veterans.


Veterans are trained leaders from a young age. The average age of a Marine is 19 years old. Within one year, most Marines become non-commissioned officers and are placed into leadership roles. As they advance through their military career, the responsibility of leadership becomes much greater. Veterans know how to deal with high-stress environments, and they are instilled with a goal-oriented mindset.

Global Perspective

Many veterans have moved around the country and the world for their work, which means they have also learned to develop a global perspective. They are able to interact with a diverse group of people because they have been a part of many cultures and communities. This global knowledge is an asset to any company that works with clients or customers throughout the nation or throughout the world.



Top Companies Hiring Veterans

The following were recognized as the Top 10 Military Friendly Companies of 2019 for recruiting, hiring, and training veterans:

  1. Verizon
  2. USAA
  3. Hilton
  4. General Motors
  5. Dominion Energy
  6. AECOM
  7. Navient
  8. Boeing
  9. Combined Insurance
  10. AT&T

These companies are making a commitment to hiring veterans because they understand the talent, experience, and value veterans can bring to their teams.

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Chapter 3: What’s the Difference?

Now that we’ve discussed the stats and figures, as well as the benefits of hiring both veterans and military spouses, you can see that the two groups share similar traits. Both are well-educated and have leadership capabilities; both are adaptable and take on a global perspective; both are intrinsically motivated with a mission-accomplishment mindset. So what’s really different between the two groups?

Present vs. Past

One of the biggest differences is that military spouses are still juggling the military lifestyle right now. They still have to work around frequent moves and employers turning them down because they believe it is difficult to retain a military spouse. Therefore, military spouses have a greater need for remote work. Additionally, military spouses are still a part of the high-stress military environment. Veterans no longer have to deal with these specific challenges of finding employment and building a career. They have the capability to stay in one location, which appeals to companies it seems easier to retain them for a long period of time.


A Large Statistical Difference

Let’s take a second to do a side-by-side comparison of the unemployment rate, the underemployment rate, and the education level of military spouses and veterans and compare these rates to the rest of the US population.


While both military spouses and veterans face underemployment rates higher than that of the national average, the military spouse unemployment rate is 1.72 times higher than that of veterans. The military spouse unemployment rate is over six times higher than the veteran unemployment rate, even though the education level of military spouses is 39% higher than veterans.


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Chapter 4: The Best Way to Hire Veterans and Military Spouses

Engage in Veteran and Military Spouse Employment Programs

There are a variety of employment and mentorship programs that can assist companies in hiring veterans and military spouses. Getting involved in these partnership programs is a great way to connect with the broader military community and recruit them for your company.

Military Spouse Employment Partnership (MSEP)

MSEP is a partnership program through the Department of Defense that assists companies in hiring military spouses. There are currently over 390 organizations that have joined MSEP because they are dedicated to recruiting, hiring, and retaining military spouses within their companies. MSEP provides partnered companies with access to military spouse talent, in addition to networking and leadership opportunities for spouses. Despite a large number of military spouses, it can be difficult to find them when you receive so many applications from candidates. MSEP exists to assist in connecting the two together.

Military Spouse Corporate Career Network (MSCCN)

MSCCN provides employment services for military spouses, caregivers, and military family members in order to help them build a portable career. This organization focuses on employment readiness training programs for military spouses and provides job placement solutions with partnering companies. Partnering with MSCCN gives you access to a great database of military spouses and will help with the candidate sourcing and screening processes.

Hiring Our Heroes Military Spouse Professional Network (MSPN)

Hiring Our Heroes provides career development and networking opportunities to members in the military spouse community in order to empower them to further their future careers. The organization hosts a variety of programs and events for these military community members, which are open for employers and companies to attend. These events allow companies to learn more about best practices for recruiting and retaining military community professionals, so attending these events can be a great resource for businesses looking for the best ways to hire military spouses.

Hire the Military-Connected Community for Remote Positions

Though both veterans and military spouses can benefit from working remotely, military spouses are best suited and have a greater need for fully remote positions. For veterans, working remotely can help them make a smoother military-to-civilian transition. But as mentioned earlier, veterans have the capability to stay in one location while military spouses still relocate frequently. 41% of military spouses stated that the biggest challenge in finding a good employment opportunity is that the company isn’t willing to hire them because they may have to move; 34% said a lack of flexibility was a major hindrance. Hiring military spouses for remote positions prevents these challenges while still giving your company access to this pool of talented professionals.

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Chapter 5: Outsource Remote Hiring

The military-connected community is well-suited for remote positions, but they are not the only ones who benefit from remote work. Hiring remotely can have many benefits for your company as well. For nationwide and international companies, remote employees provide coverage across time zones. Not to mention, hiring remotely gives your company easier access to top talent, since you aren’t limited to any geographical location. Remote employees also improve productivity, have higher retention rates, and can be managed at a lower cost ($20,000 saved a year, for each fully remote employee!). However, the process of hiring and managing remote employees can be complex.

There are several aspects that have to be factored in when it comes to remote hiring. For example, it’s much more difficult to determine if a candidate will fit with your company culture and whether or not they have the personality that is needed for a remote worker. Are they self-motivated? How strong are their communication skills? Due to all of these essential qualifications that remote employees have to meet, it takes time to find one that’s truly a match for your organization.

Onboarding and HR processes also take time and resources, and even after a remote employee is onboarded, you still have to continue to manage them and keep them engaged over time. This can be one of the biggest hurdles of remote hiring, but you don’t want to get it wrong; it costs a minimum of 15% of an employee’s annual salary to hire a replacement. Hiring the right person for remote work is essential, but can be difficult to find the perfect applicant. You shouldn’t have to spend your valued time filtering through applications, which is why many businesses have started to outsource their remote hiring and management processes in order to cut costs and keep growing.

That’s where we come in. Instant Teams makes hiring and managing remote employees easy by taking care of the hiring, onboarding, and management processes of remote employees, so you can stay focused on running your business. Our talent pool consists of professionals from across the military-connected community, who are skilled, vetted, and qualified to ensure the culture fit and remote suitability of each candidate for your team. 49% of our talent community holds a Bachelor’s degree, and 22% hold a Master’s. Their work experience speaks for itself, with 71% of those employed having skills and experience beyond the requirements for their current positions.

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