U.S. Chamber Foundation’s Hiring Our Heroes Announces Findings of Military Spouse Employment Study

June 14, 2017

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s Hiring Our Heroes today announced the results of its military spouse employment study, Military Spouses in the Workplace: Understanding the Impacts of Spouse Unemployment on Military Recruitment, Retention, and Readiness.

The study, conducted in early 2017, surveyed more than 1,000 military and recent veteran spouses nationwide to explore the nuances of the military spouse employment landscape and discover the effects of military spouse unemployment and underemployment on the recruitment and retention of America’s all-volunteer military.

Key findings of the study include:

  • Unemployment continues to be a significant challenge for most military spouses. Many are in part-time or seasonal positions when they would prefer full time or permanent work.  
  • Military spouses with degrees face the greatest challenges in nearly every measurable employment category. They face the highest rates of unemployment and the most difficulty finding meaningful work.
  • Moves between duty stations play havoc on careers. Not only do most military spouses have to quit jobs because of a move, they face long periods of unemployment after the move. 
  • Like most American families, military families want and need two incomes—something that is much harder to achieve for military families.  
  • The lack of employment opportunities creates stress and influence a family’s decision to stay or leave the military—factors that ultimately hurt military readiness, retention and recruiting.

“As our military leaders work to shape the fighting force of the future and continue to recruit and retain the tremendously skilled individuals that make up our nation’s military, we are working to understand the nature of military spouse employment and its impact on military readiness,” said Eric Eversole, president of Hiring Our Heroes and a vice president at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. “Today's summit represents the public and private sectors coming together to simultaneously capitalize on the largely untapped talent pool military spouses comprise and pave the way for America’s continued high-quailty, all-volunteer force.”

The study was sponsored by La Quinta Inns & Suites, and the results were announced at Hiring Our Heroes’ Military Spouse Employment Summit, Creating Opportunities for 21st Century Military Spouses

“La Quinta Inns & Suites strives to be not just military friendly, but military family friendly," said Keith Cline, president and CEO of La Quinta Holdings Inc. "This study not only highlights existing military spouse employment challenges, but paves the way for companies to follow La Quinta’s lead to empower military spouses in their careers and lives.”

The event, which was sponsored by CarMax, La Quinta Inns & Suites, PNC, Prudential, Toyota, the University of North Carolina Wilmington, USAA, and the USO, was a half-day summit designed to kick start the conversation around what it means to be a dual-income military family. Dr. Jill Biden, spouse of former Vice President Joe Biden and the co-founder of Joining Forces, SBA Administrator Linda McMahon, U.S. Chamber Senior Vice President Suzanne Clark, Counselor to the President Kellyanne Conway, and Hiring Our Heroes Senior Advisor Bonnie Amos were among the speakers and panelists who joined industry leaders, human resources professionals, and military spouses to identify best practices in talent management for recruiting and retaining military spouses and set the stage for a renewed emphasis on removing barriers to military spouse employment as a national security imperative.

The study reinforces the myriad significant roles American businesses play in supporting our national defense and paves the way for the a new era of meaningful military spouse career opportunities.

About Hiring Our Heroes

Launched in 2011, Hiring Our Heroes is a nationwide initiative to help veterans, transitioning service members, and military spouses find meaningful employment. Working with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s vast network of state and local chambers and other strategic partners from the public, private and nonprofit sectors, Hiring Our Heroes has helped hundreds of thousands of veterans and military spouses find meaningful employment through more than 1,000 job fairs in all 50 states, Puerto Rico, the District of Columbia, and on military installations overseas; a suite of free online career-based resources; and the Hiring 500,000 Heroes campaign.

About La Quinta Inns & Suites

La Quinta Holdings Inc. (LQ) is a leading owner, operator and franchisor of select‐service hotels primarily serving the upper‐midscale and midscale segments. The Company's owned and franchised portfolio consists of more than 885 properties representing approximately 87,400 rooms located in 48 US states, Canada, Mexico, Honduras and Colombia.  These hotels operate under the La Quinta Inns & Suites™, La Quinta Inns™, and LQ Hotel™ brands. La Quinta's team is committed to providing guests with a refreshing and engaging experience. For more information, please visit www.LQ.com.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation is dedicated to strengthening America’s long-term competitiveness. We educate the public on the conditions necessary for business and communities to thrive, how business positively impacts communities, and emerging issues and creative solutions that will shape the future.