Military Spouse Employment: 5 Recommendations for Removing Barriers to Entrepreneurship


This report has in mind the goal of enabling military spouses to have viable portable careers and so offers recommendations for removing the barriers to spouse self-employment to help ensure the fiscal and professional stability of military families, aid in active-military retention and ease the transition back to civilian life. Some of the challenges for military spouses are identified in this report.


The purpose of this white paper is to describe some of the challenges and barriers military spouses face in starting their own businesses that were outlined in the National Military Spouse Network’s 2018 panel discussion with military spouse entrepreneurs and to outline some of the ways these challenges and barriers may be addressed. Maintaining traditional employment and advancing in careers while relocating every few years — and taking care of children, oftentimes on their own — has historically been a hardship military spouses have found extremely difficult, if not impossible, to overcome. In 2016, 50 percent of female military spouses cited family obligations as a top career obstacle, which should come as no surprise considering the long-term effects frequent relocations have on career advancement, seniority accrual, and earnings growth. In the same survey referenced above, 77 percent of military spouse respondents reported that being a military spouse had negatively impacted their careers. Choosing the life of a military spouse has, in turn, generally meant that the spouse must give up career aspirations of their own in lieu of their service member’s. For many, however, those days may be numbered.

Full Reference

Chrisinger, D., 2019. Military Spouse Employment: 5 Recommendations for Removing Barriers to Entrepreneurship. Final report. National Military Spouse Network. Available at: <https://www.nationalmilitaryspousenetwork.org/public/images/NMSN_White_Paper_Military_Spouse_Employment.pdf>.