On March 26 & 27, 2014, IVMF managing director James Schmeling briefed military spouses and congressional staff members on the MOAA/IVMF Military Spouse Employment Report in Arlington, VA and Washington, DC, in collaboration with the Military Officers Association of America Military Spouse Programs.
Schmeling appeared as part of a Spouse & Policy Panel featured at the MOAA Military Spouse Symposium “Keeping a Career on the Move”- a professional development conference for all military spouses. Schmeling joined fellow panelists to discuss the military spouse employment report, as well as state policies and national programs that assist military spouses and their career opportunities. IVMF Founding Partner, JPMorgan Chase, was the executive sponsor of the event.
Other panelists included:
- Marcus Beauregard, Chief, DoD State Liaison Office, Office of the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense;
- Meg O’Grady, Senior Program Analyst, Office of Family Policy, Children and Youth, Office of the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense;
- Sarah Worley, Military Spouse Program Manager, Hiring Our Heroes Deputy Director, U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation; and
- Karen Golden, MOAA Government Relations Deputy Director, Military Family Issues.
After the conference, Schmeling briefed the Congressional Military Family Caucus on the Military Spouse Employment report, including key highlights and findings, at the U.S. Capitol. He was joined by Karen Golden, MOAA Government Relations Deputy Director, Military Family Issues; Christine Gallagher, Deputy Director, Spouse and Currently Serving Programs, and, Advisor, Currently Serving Spouse Advisory Committee; and, Dr. Michelle Still Mehta, Ph.D.
Important findings included:
- ACS data consistently show noticeable gaps in income and unemployment between armed forces women spouses and their civilian counterparts. This survey discovered over 55% of respondents indicated they “need” to work, while 90% indicated they “want” to work.
- Active duty military spouses are more likely to have moved within states, across states, and abroad, compared to their civilian and veteran counterparts. The increased likelihood of moving from one geographic location to another further compounds economic issues for these families. According to survey results, other factors affecting their unemployment or underemployment include relocating to geographic locations with limited employment opportunities, employer perceptions of military spouses and likelihood of future moves, inability to match skills and education to jobs, inflexible work schedules and lack of affordable child care (or access to any child care).
Other study results:
- In 2012, 18-24 year-old Armed Forces female spouses had the highest unemployment rates at 30 percent (which is almost three times higher than their civilian counterparts at 11 percent). 25-44 year-old Armed Forces female spouses had the second highest unemployment rates at 15 percent (almost three times higher than their civilian counterparts at 6 percent).
- Over 50% of respondents indicated their chosen career field requires licensing or certification and 73% required renewal/reissuing after a PCS move, costing an average of $223.03, and ranging significantly higher for some professions.
- Respondents reported their employment and wages, and our analysis showed they are underemployed with respect to education (33%), experience (10%), or both (47%), for a total of 90% of female military spouses being underemployed compared to their abilities, education, experience, and skills.
- Income significantly differs based on educational attainment and whether the military spouse is working in their preferred career field, and is significantly less than that of their civilian counterparts.
Pictured are Golden, Gallagher, Mehta and Schmeling.
Learn more about the conference here: www.moaa.org/spousesymposium
Learn more about the Military Spouse Employment Survey at: http://vets.syr.edu/2013-military-spouse-study-finds-90-of-responding-female-spouses-of-active-duty-service-members-are-underemployed/