- Sodexo has partnered with the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation (NRAEF) to address military spouses' employment barriers and career opportunities in the food services and restaurant industries. Citing the results of a military lifestyle survey by Blue Star Families, Sodexo, a food service and facilities management company, said that joblessness among military spouses is one of the biggest issues facing military families, topped only by the separation of service men and women from their families.
- In a statement, Sodexo said its partnership with the NRAEF, an organization dedicated to training and education, career development and community engagement, will conduct nationwide focus group studies with military spouses from all service branches of service.
- Sodexo's announcement reflects wider movement regarding the employment of military spouses; according to the military lifestyle survey, unemployment rates for military spouses hover around four times the unemployment rates of similar civilians, and underemployment rates are even higher than that. Google recently updated its Cloud Talent Solution tool to allow users to search for jobs with "work from home" or "telecommute" in their descriptions, partly in consideration of military spouses who routinely relocate, the company said in a blog post.
As the military lifestyle survey notes, military spouses tend to be highly capable recruits, and employers of all sizes are taking note. Late last year, Walmart announced a program giving priority hiring to military spouses through its Military Spouse Career Connection initiative. The focus on military spouses is an extension of the retailer's plan to hire 23,000 service people by 2020. Comcast made a similar commitment, with plans to hire a total of 21,000 service people, military spouses, National Guard and Reserve members by 2021.
As employers look for new sources of talent in a market with the lowest unemployment rate in 50 years, many are rejiggering their sourcing techniques to better include overlooked sources of talent. For some employers, this strategy includes expanding their remote work and flexible work options — key for workers with caregiving responsibilities, those with disabilities and those who may have to up and move often, like military spouses. Most employees in a survey by the International Workplace Group saw flexible work as the new norm, anyway.
Technology is better enabling remote and flexible work; a 2018 survey by OWL Labs found that 56% of employers worldwide offer some form of remote work. But employers must be careful to ensure their remote workers feel included and heard to avoid burnout and preserve their productivity.