Boulo Solutions is proud to offer our support to Military Spouses. Thank you to the Tampa/MacDill AFB – HOH Military Spouse Professional Network (MSPN) for hosting Boulo’s Founder & CEO, Delphine Carter. We appreciate how you consistently support the backbone of our nation and admire your strength!
The MSPN helps military spouses looking to resume their careers after being disconnected from their previous professional networks. The issue of military spouse unemployment and underemployment significantly impacts the military community. Military spouses often desire professional achievement. Additionally, families often need a spouses’ second income, especially when stationed in places where the cost of living is high.
Key Discussion Points – Table of Contents
- Impact of Women Working on Daughters
- Who is a Boulo Member?
- Why Women Leave the Workforce
- Good News for Job Seekers
- The Value of Women to Businesses
- Member Profiles Tell the Whole Story for Military Spouses
- Process and Benefits
- How Covid Helped Military Spouses
- Question: Focus on a Niche or Generalist position?
MSPN Host Debbra Hooks, Military Spouse Fellowship Program Manager/ Career Connector: We are all military spouses. We have little gaps (in our resumes) and those hardships of trying to find employment. So, I am so happy to have you on here. I’m going to let you go ahead and share your show.
Delphine: I’m glad to be here as well. I just want to inform you about another option that you guys have today across the U.S. in finding flexible job opportunities. You’ve already got a lot of great solutions. We want to be another tool in your tool kit.
Impact of Women Working on Daughters
So again, we connect women to companies that value a woman’s influence in the workplace and that really prioritize diversity and promote a flexible work culture. Women, mostly moms, leave the workforce in droves. It has a permanent impact, as many of you may know, on their financial well-being.
But it also affects our daughters. The daughters of women who have stepped out of the workforce have lower salaries than the daughters of women who stayed in the workforce. We’ve got to figure out exactly how we can help this wage gap from continuing to spread.
Who is a Boulo Member?
We work with women looking to maintain both personal and professional goals and with companies that respect that and understand that it’s doable. So in the next few minutes, I am going to focus on caregivers. That’s mom’s, children of aging parents, caregivers of siblings, and extended family. But that’s really because that’s how we started with our go-to-market.
I say that Boulo is for anyone who has a non-linear career or any gap in their resume and is looking for support to get their resume serviced. So you guys, as military spouses who have traveled the world supporting loved ones, you guys really identify with who we are trying to help solve a problem.
Why Women Leave the Workforce
Some quick stats. Women are leaving the workforce rapidly. 30% of employees left a job to manage an unmet caregiving responsibility. That’s pretty ridiculous if you think about the cost it takes for a company not only to hire you but train you and then to try and go through the effort to replace you. We know that women, in particular, are leaving because of a lack of flexible job opportunities, lack of the feeling that there’s a career progression, and they have no professional support.
So why do they need flexible job opportunities? A big part of that is because daycare access is expensive and challenging. This stat is incredibly depressing; an estimated 40% of daycares across the U.S. have closed permanently. Before the pandemic, 2.7 million children under the age of 6 needed childcare but lacked a spot.
So I was researching the struggles that you guys specifically (as military spouses) face, and I think the daycare situation and child care situation is the number one issue as well for many of you. I want to work. My family needs me to work, but what in the world do I do with my kids? I may not be able to afford it, or there may not be a suitable option around. So that’s where finding flexible jobs comes into place.
Good News for Job Seekers
The good news is there’s a lot of people behind us. Marty Walsh, the Labor Secretary, said, “if we’re going to have a strong recovery and equitable recovery, we’ve got to get women back.”
Harvard did a study to research what happened during Covid and the hiring situation. Right now is the best time to find a job. The war for talent is insane. We are recruiting members, and they are finding jobs within two days. It’s the right time for you to ask what you need.
I would encourage any of you working right now in a full-time job first to ask your employer if they’re willing to be flexible. Then try to look for a flexible job. We found from many women that they haven’t even made the ask when an employer may value you so much that they want you to stay. You just need to put that ask out there.
The Value of Women to Businesses
How do businesses gain value from mothers? 89% of American workers agree that working moms in leadership bring out the very best in employees. During Covid, more women were promoted into executive roles because of the ability to have empathy and the ability to relate to team members. So they believed moms were better listeners, calmer in a crisis, more diplomatic, and better team players.
Member Profiles Tell the Whole Story for Military Spouses
So this is what we realized early on we needed to do. For everybody that comes on our platform, we create a member profile. It’s your time to write your story so that somebody can emotionally identify with who you are, what you’ve done, and see a lot more about you than the traditional resume.
Our perfect example is the event at the school’s, the events on base, the events in your community. Many of you have blown past your fundraising goals. You’ve helped negotiate contracts for school systems, for example. You’ve done work as a volunteer that other people are paid to do.
In 2014 women donated 4.5 billion hours to causes and issues that equal $103 billion in salary value. This value should be showing up on your resume, but it doesn’t translate on many platforms.
Process and Benefits
So how do our clients benefit? The clients appreciate us because they get a vetted workforce. We offer them role creation guidelines. We send our clients 3-5 curated matches, which include your 360-degree profile. Our clients have said they feel like they had their first interview just by looking at that profile.
I’m sure if you’ve been job shopping, you’ve seen this; where they want you to be an accountant and also post for their social media and also clean up the kitchen and do all of these admin tasks. So we help employers narrow in on who will be the most successful in this role and keep the guidelines in that space.
How do members benefit? We help you get through the online resume or the online profile. We talk to you, have a conversation, make sure you’re a great fit for the role. Then for you guys, what you get is a pre-qualified business. Everyone on our platform offers flexibility in hours, flexibility in location, or flexibility in culture.
Membership is always free. We do not want to monetize from our members to help them find a job.
How Covid Helped Military Spouses
From MPNS audience: You hit every issue that military spouses have. One of the main things that we struggle with is having to move from country to country. Most of our careers are just not mobile. We can’t take them with us. So what Covid did for a lot of us is open the eyes of many employers to flexibility and how amazing remote work can be, not just for the employee but also for the employer.
Question: Focus on a Niche or Generalist position?
From MPNS audience: I am open to any position, but I’ve had a lot of conversations with people who said, oh no, you have to pick your niche. I’ve been struggling with finding a job, and it stresses me out a little bit.
How focused on my niche should I be? How open should I be to any opportunity that comes to me as long as I’m comfortable doing the skills and responsibilities required in that role?
I’m in Project Management and Events coordinating. One of the jokes that I made in an interview is that I sat at the same table with the Minister of Culture of my country to discuss programs. But I also sweep the floors before workshops to ensure that it’s clean enough for our students. So basically, I’m open to anything at this point.
Delphine: So to answer your question, if you focus on your niche, it’s easier to get your foot in the door, right? So a lot of people say to focus on your niche because it’s just got a higher chance of getting a hit if you don’t have anybody advocating for you.
With your role as a Project Manager, and if we can highlight some of those other things that you do, small to medium-sized businesses (this is why we focus on them) – they love a generalist. They need somebody who will be able to help run a project, who’s going to implement a new software solution with their customer, be customer service, but is also willing to work on a creative campaign, maybe put together a blog post. Small to medium-sized businesses do not need so much somebody who’s been doing something for 25 years. They appreciate people who do bring a little bit more background.
So all of you, I would encourage you to include these experiences. When you are moving to different countries and being relocated, those are tough experiences. That’s some grit, right? To pick up, find your new place, and some of the things that you talked about in your work. So be sure to highlight the strength that you gained from that. And the cultural differences and new ideas that you will now bring to the table.
The frequent moves military spouses face contribute to a lack of a professional network. Yet 85% of jobs are filled by networking. (Source: Study Reveals 85% of Jobs Filled By Networking, LinkedIn, 2017). Join Boulo, and we become your network; we will advocate for you!
About HOH MSPN
The Hiring Our Heroes Military Spouse Professional Network is a nonprofit program of the U.S. Chamber Foundation. It is a military spouse employment space leader.