Military spouse career development is a complex issue but there are a number of available solutions. Support comes in different forms including: policy, individual career and job readiness support, employment opportunities, advocacy and education. Governments, non-profits, and for profits all have different areas of expertise and their own strengths, weaknesses, and risk. A national strategy to provide a coordinated and collective effort is required to deliver high quality, effective services. This would create a landscape in which competition for funding and ‘noise’ is kept to a minimum, population needs are met and impact is maximised.
Supporting the career development of ADF spouses is an opportunity to pursue cultural change and to invest in developing a healthy, thriving, modern day ADF community that is well prepared for the future, reflects the society it serves, and allows it to serve that society to the best of its ability. It may also serve to identify best practices for other sectors of society.
- Address ADF spouse career development as an essential element of ADF family support and an issue of concern in its own right.
- Gather more qualitative and quantitative data on the ADF spouse population and undertake a career development and employment needs assessment.
- Convene an ADF Spouse Employment Steering Committee of key stakeholders to agree on a shared vision and design a national ADF spouse employment and career development strategy and framework.
- Encourage a collaborative effort from organisations across government, NFP and private sectors to improve military spouse employment and career outcomes, overseen by the Steering Committee.
- Champion the business case for hiring military spouses, facilitate mutually beneficial relationships between ADF spouse job seekers and employers, and introduce ADF spouse hiring initiatives within companies.
- Enhance and expand current services.
- Review how current Defence policies affect spouse employment and how current and future policies can be enhanced to offset negative effects on families including spouse employment.
- Adopt a whole-of-government approach to ADF spouse employment.
- Approach military spouse employment as a global issue as well as a national one.
Keywords: Military Spouse Employment, ADF Partners, Australian Defence Force, Career Development, Employment, Unemployment, Underemployment, Defence Policy, ADF Family Support Policy, Military Family Readiness