Military Spouses Across the Globe Struggle with Employment

An Eye Opening Summit

The 2021 International Military Spouse Employment Summit (IMSES) brought together invited participants from from across the globe to focus on military partner employment, discuss common themes, and share knoweldge with the aim of enhancing career development support for military spouses around the world.

Sponsored by The Winston Churchill Trust Australia, IMSES brought together an incredible array of presentations from stakeholders from the USA, UK, Australia and Canada. Speakers work across government, non profit, for profit and social enterprise sectors to bring a breadth of experience  of resources. Experts showcased their military spouse employment policies, programs and services, to share their knowledge and expertise, and learn from others. 

The Mission of IMSES

The goal of IMSES is to seed future knowledge sharing and collaboration, and enhance career development support for military spouses around the world.

Over the past several years there has been broad consensus across Australia, UK, USA and Canada that spouse/partner employment is a quality of life issue for military families which influences the readiness and retention of military personnel.

The relationship between the quality and quantity of work and health is well documented. Career development support (or career guidance) aims to help individuals to learn and grow the skills they need to manage their own careers, make career decisions that will help them reach their potential, and address systemic barriers. Military spouses have always experienced career disruption as a result of military life. At the same time the world of work has been changing rapidly as a result of digitalisation and globalisation and the COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted the labor market and society even further.


The Fearless Leader

In 2018, with the support of a Winston Churchill Trust Fellowship, Amanda McCue travelled to the US, UK and Canada to investigate the various approaches to supporting the careers and employment of military spouses. This Churchill Fellowship highlighted how similar the employment challenges and opportunities of military spouses are between countries. Amanda has continued to spearhead IMSES to drive global collaboration among these countries.

Benefits of Collaboration

The potential benefits of supporting the careers of military spouses:

  • Military spouses gain skills to successfully navigate labor market transitions and pursue goals than align with their strengths, values, and interests; social inclusion; better health and wellbeing; self determination; job and financial security.
  • Employers attract applicants and gain employees with the skills, talents and motivations that match their current and future requirmenets and address skills shortages.
  • Society enhances opportunities for gender equality; diversity and inclusion; social equity; health and wellbeing
  • Economy drives increased workforce participation and productivity; reduced dependency on welfare and services
  • Defense forces garner enhanced capability via recruitment and reterntion of members, and optimal service member performance as a result of enhanced family wellbeing and support for the serving member

The Winston Churchill Trust in Australia funded the online International Military Spouse Employment Summit to support Recommendation 9 of the Churchill report to approach military spouse employment as a global issue as well as a national one, in keeping with the Trust’s motto of:

“Learn globally, inspire locally”.

A Global Career

As a military spouse, we know you’re traveling around the world in support of your service member’s career. We are working with our allies internationally to make sure that no matter where you live, your career doesn’t have to skip a beat.
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