Recommendation One

Address ADF spouse career development as an essential element of ADF family support and an issue of concern in its own right

1.1 Acknowledge and articulate the importance of spouse career development to ADF families, and therefore to recruitment, retention, family readiness and operational effectiveness.

1.2 Acknowledge that there are multiple aspects of ADF life that negatively influence ADF spouse employment and career development; most notably relocation and absence from home.

1.3 Address ADF spouse/partner employment as a separate (but related) issue to veteran employment

Recommendation Two

Gather more qualitative and quantitative data on the ADF spouse population and undertake a career development and employment needs assessment

Recommendation Three

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

Recommendation Four

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

Recommendation Five

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

5.1 Champion the business case of hiring ADF spouses to employers and organisations via relationship building and education and awareness campaigns.

5.2 Seek formal commitments from employer partners to support ADF spouse employment via agreed actions and obligations.

5.3 Provide a central point of contact for interested employers to find out how to best access talent from the ADF spouse talent pool

5.4 Encourage companies to implement ADF spouse employment hiring programs and working arrangements that are compatible with military life, and support this via recruitment and retention education and awareness campaigns for employers e.g. networking, webinars, presentations, publications, spouse employment ambassadors.

5.5 Create a searchable job portal for advertising ‘ADF spouse-friendly’ vacancies and creating job seeker profiles.

5.6 Require employer partners to report ADF spouse hiring and retention data

Recommendation Six

Enhance and expand current services

6.1 Allow spouses to access DCO spouse employment support at any stage whilst an ADF spouse (i.e. remove relocation eligibility)

6.2 Encourage (or require) PEAP applicants to seek services from qualified service providers; liaise with CICA (and its member organisations such as CDAA) to assist applicants with identifying and locating qualified practitioners by placing links to these websites on the DCO PEAP page.

6.3 Work with CICA member organisations to educate service providers about the unique challenges and experiences of military spouses that affect their career development (e.g. via webinars, presentations, attendance at conferences, publications) and inform them about PEAP.

6.4 Increase awareness of DCO services

6.5 Deliver DCO partner employment workshops in all areas where there is a Defence installation and ensure there is consistency across locations whilst allowing for local requirements.

6.6 Coordinate spouse employment efforts between DCO and DCO-funded Defence community centres.

6.7 Increase online employment content (e.g. website content and webinars) to provide a minimum national level of support.

6.8 Utilise local DCO offices as a liaison point between the local communities and the ADF community

Recommendation Seven

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

7.1 Explore the potential of the TWM to address spouse employment challenges and identify and implement enhancements to the model to better address spouse employment challenges

7.2 Consider underlying assumptions of policies that could be contributing to spouse employment challenges particularly with respect to expectations around spouse unpaid labour.

7.3 Expand gender equality efforts and considerations to the whole ADF community.

Recommendation Eight

Adopt a whole-of-government approach to ADF spouse employment

8.1 Include ADF spouses as a group of women identified as having specific employment needs and experiences.

8.2 Consider how existing government employment services could be applied to assist the ADF spouse population

8.3 Compile a guide authored by Department of Defence, Defence Families of Australia and the Department of Jobs and Small Business to encourage businesses to commit to hiring ADF spouses and educate employers on the best methods to recruit and retain spouses.

8.4 Encourage state governments to facilitate easier and more affordable transition of occupational licences and registrations across states including discussing the introduction of national rather than state based licences wherever possible.

8.5 Consider preferential government and ADF contractor hiring programs.

8.6 Consider how policies and programs to support ADF spouse career development could be used to assist other populations.

Recommendation Nine

Approach military spouse employment as a global issue as well as a national one

9.1 Convene an international military spouse employment working group to share ideas, experience and data, to seek new and innovative solutions and to assist in the implementation of identified best or ‘promising’ practices in other countries.

9.2 Actively seek ways to collaborate with and/or expand existing programs in other countries and provide reciprocity to foreign military spouses.

9.3 Encourage companies with an international presence to offer their military spouse employment programs in all countries in which they operate.

9.4 Provide assistance with licence recognition and reciprocity between countries on employment for spouses re-locating internationally where spouses have working rights.

9.5 Consider military spouse employment in the context of the United Nations Sustainability Goals