Hiring Our Heroes Survey: Meaningful Employment Promotes Positive Emotional Wellbeing for Military Spouses


2020 Military Spouses in the Workplace
© Hiring Our Heroes

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s Hiring Our Heroes, in collaboration with the Institute for Veterans and Military Families at Syracuse University and Starbucks, presented key findings from the 2020 Military Spouse Employment and Wellbeing Survey to an audience of employers, stakeholders, and military spouses during a virtual event held Thursday, February 4, 2021.

Drawing insight from more than 3,300 military spouses, the “2020 Military Spouses in the Workplace” report identifies the impact employment can have on their mental health and wellbeing and how the nation can best support military families and their quality of life.

“With our parallel commitments to support the mental health of our veterans and military community and to hire military spouses throughout our company, Starbucks is proud to support this groundbreaking work to better understand the connection between employment and mental health for military spouses,” said Matt Kress, senior manager of Veterans and Military Affairs at Starbucks.

Hiring Our Heroes’ research found:

  • Employment positively impacts spouses’ wellbeing. Eighty-six percent of employed spouses agree or strongly agree to the statement, “I lead a purposeful and meaningful life,” compared to 76% of those who are unemployed.
  • Duration of unemployment is found to be associated with spouses’ tendency to report less satisfaction with themselves as a whole, feelings of uselessness, and inclination to feel they are a failure.
  • Spouses make an important distinction between finding employment and finding meaningful employment. Sixty-seven percent of spouses who are underemployed report on the whole they are satisfied with themselves compared to 84% who are not underemployed.
“These findings underscore the need to introduce this critical missing component to the military spouse employment narrative to bolster military spouses’ ability to thrive in the workplace,” said Hisako Sonethavilay, senior advisor for Research and Innovation in the Military Spouse Program at Hiring Our Heroes.

You can read the full “2020 Military Spouses in the Workplace” report here.