Military service benefits civilian life

The majority of military jobs have direct civilian counterparts, and 81% of military careers are in non-combat occupations.  Veterans of the U.S. Armed Forces are less likely to be unemployed than non-veterans.

Companies are looking to hire people based on their experience and skills.  Military background should be drawn on, and many companies support the military or government and provide careers for veterans with competitive pay rates.  Different career paths can be attributed to the type of training, socioeconomic background, interests and productivity, and rank.  The effects of military service vary with time and within different groups of the population.  Moreover, lack of experience in the civilian labor force can be overcome, and if there are income and occupational disparities, they dissipate over time.

In regards to schooling, the military provides ways for its soldiers to eventually return or go to upper level education, either via the GI Bill or other opportunities.  If a student is debating whether or not go enter the armed forces, he or she should consider loans, and the fact that colleges can offer competitive financial aid offers for low-income students. 

Matching Military Skills to Civilian Jobs: Does Military Training Enhance Veteran’s Civilian Wages? – Karl Olsen, Naval Postgraduate School, 1995

  • "Assimilation of veterans into the private sector is a function of the compatibility of the veterans training in the civilian labor market, the use of military training in a compatible civilian occupation, the period of time the veteran has been in the civilian labor market, and the migrational behavior of the veteran." [Page 8]

Enlisting for jobs after military service – via CNN, interview with Bob Qualls, retired U.S. Army colonel and manager of Partnership for Youth Success

  • The military offers job placement services to help veterans find jobs.
  • "There are two programs the U.S. Army offers its soldiers to aid career placement once they have honorably completed their time in service. One is called ACAP, Army Career and Alumni Program, which is available to all soldiers as part of transition assistance. The other is PaYS, Partnership for Youth Success, which is offered to soldiers who choose this option as part of their enlistment package."
  • ACAP begins before service ends.  It helps soldiers prepare for future careers by providing information about education, certification and credential requirements.
  • PaYS provides services to soldiers once service is completed.   "At the time of enlistment, a recruit is given information to choose a company with which to have an interview at the end of his or her tour of duty.  They choose the company based upon the job they would like to attain and the region where they would like to work when they transition from the military. The recruit is guaranteed an interview with this company upon completion of honorable service."

The Employment Situation of Veterans – Bureau of Labor Statistics; It details employment statistics of veterans and compares them to civilians.

  • August 2005 statistics in the Current Population Survey (CPS) put out by the U.S. Census Bureau indicate that the unemployment rate for U.S. Armed Forces veterans was 3.9%, with 3.4 million Gulf War-era veterans (post 1990) in the labor force whose jobless rate was 5.2%.
  • 23.4 million men and women in the civilian non-institutional population had served in the Armed Forces by that time.  13.5 million are from the World War II, Korean War and Vietnam era.  63% of veterans were over 55 years old, compared with 26% of nonveterans, while only 1% of veterans were 18-24 years of age, versus 14% of nonveterans.
  • While overall 55.6% of veterans over age 18 were in the labor force (vs. 81.1% of nonveterans), this reflects the skewed age distribution of veterans.  Of those in the 18-54 age bracket, labor force participation rates of veterans and nonveterans were both about 88%.
  • Male veteran unemployment rate was 3.7%, while male nonveteran unemployment was 4.4%, though veterans in the 18-24 age bracket had greater unemployment (likely due to age and other factors rather than available jobs).  Female veteran unemployment was 5.9% (vs. 5% for nonveterans).  "The occupational distribution of employed male veterans was similar to that of their nonveteran counterparts."
  • Black veteran unemployment rate was 6.5%, 3% lower than nonveterans.   Hispanic veteran unemployment was 2.9%, 2.5% lower than nonveterans.
  • Gulf War era statistics:
    • There are 3.9 million veterans since 1990, 1.1 million of which have served since 2001.
    • 87% of veterans were in the labor force and they were more likely to be in the labor force than nonveterans.  The unemployment rate was 5.2%.
  • "Among persons 18 to 24 years old, there was little difference in the proportions of Gulf War-era veterans and nonveterans who were employed.Among older age groups, higher shares of Gulf War-era veterans than nonveterans were employed."
  • Regarding disabilities
      • "Of Gulf War-era veterans with a disability, 82.9 percent were in the labor force, compared with 89.0 percent of nondisabled veterans from this period.  The unemployment rate of disabled veterans from the Gulf War era was 5.4 percent, essentially the same as the rate for nondisabled veterans (5.2 percent)."
      • 1/3 of disabled veterans were employed in the public sector (the majority of which work for the federal government), compared with 17% of non-disabled veterans and 14% of nonveterans.


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