Issues: State and Federal action is needed to enhance career portability for military spouses.
Background: Many spouses find it necessary to work to meet family income needs; others choose to work for personal satisfaction. A permanent change of station (PCS) affects the job continuity of military spouses. The direct impacts of repeated moves during a career more quantifiable than the ancillary consequences of a spotty resume; emotional well-being or long-term financial losses.
According to a 2012 survey by the US Census, employed military spouses, earn approximately 38% less than civilian counterparts do. Military spouses are more likely to work outside of their preferred career field, and 90% of spouses of active duty servicemembers are underemployed based on their education or experience.
More than 50 percent of military spouses are in professions that require state specific licenses or certification for employment. Each government ordered move across state lines results in a new hurdle to finding gainful employment. Military spouses who must become relicensed after a PCS may face application and testing fees, employment gaps, lost income, loss of tenure and promotion potential, and decreased lifetime savings simply as a result of the process of becoming relicensed.
The results of 2013 Military Spouse Employment Report demonstrate an ongoing and urgent need for a concerted effort to improve employment issues facing military spouses.