Training fields

Military jobs in intelligence, information technology fields have more income in civilian life, study finds

According to a recently published study by Rand Corp.

“We can see from this work that there are certain types of occupations that seemed to have lower incomes, and therefore would be the best places to focus. [transition resources]”said Charles Goldman, senior economist and lead author of the study titled”Navigating a Great Transition: Earnings and Employment of Military Service Members After Active Service. “

By matching more than one million military service records from 2002 to 2010 with the tax records of the United States Social Security Administration, the researchers tracked the first three years that troops are out of service. army to see how the incomes of newly separated veterans have performed over time and compared to their last pay while on active duty.

It can take several years to acquire this type of data because it needs to be cleaned to protect people’s privacy, Goldman said. Although this dates back a decade, he believes it is still useful to understand trends and patterns to inform policy decisions and resource allocation.

Outside of military occupations, the 72-page report also explains how salaries vary based on gender, hour of service, deployment history, and release status.

While men serving in the military as human intelligence operators earned an average civilian salary of $ 49,503 for the first year, an infantryman and medic earned about $ 21,680 and $ 21,569, with these amounts rising to 2013, according to the report.

Those military jobs that launch into higher civilian salaries typically have more transferable skills, Goldman said. When it comes to enlisted health fields, such as the combat medic, these skills are usually transferred to become an emergency medical technician, which is a low-paying job in the civilian sector.

Given the duration of the data, he also believes that the ongoing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and the growth in civilian contractor jobs requiring top-secret security clearance may have benefited troops serving in intelligence positions and of information technology. People who hold this clearance level typically earn higher salaries, Goldman said.

Each of the departments have made substantial improvements to their bridging programs since the time period for this data, but Goldman said he still thinks it shows how and where to focus those programs and resources. Some of these changes include new programs to help troops gain civilian certifications through their military jobs and allowing more time before separation to prepare resumes, search for employment, and participate in specialized training through partnerships. with corporations, businesses and trade organizations.

Looking ahead, Goldman said future research could use this data to focus on times when changes were made to bridging programs to see what impact they had.

Better civilian jobs not only contribute to recruitment and retention, but also to the Pentagon’s bottom line, he said. The Defense Department paid more than $ 900 million a year in unemployment to former military personnel in the early 2010s, when the country experienced a “weak labor market after the Great Recession,” according to the report, which quotes the Congressional Budget Office.

“These costs have declined considerably in recent years, possibly due to a strong labor market and the deliberate introduction of accreditation, skills training and transition assistance programs. Nonetheless, the US economy is going through cycles and (as this report is being prepared in 2020) a very negative cycle may just begin with the economic consequences of the coronavirus pandemic, underscoring the importance of sustaining and targeting transition assistance, ”according to the report.

In the three years that researchers tracked veterans’ income, their salaries increased on average, but many started with less income than they earned in the military. Determining why this happened is slightly beyond the scope of these data, as civilian income data did not show researchers whether the veterans were working full-time, part-time, or perhaps going to work. school. It just showed the amount of money they had brought home.

“People can get the anecdotal feeling that there is a lot of money to be made in civilian life,” Goldman said. “Our analysis shows that for many members their earnings are better while on active duty, and that actually making this transition to civilian life is a significant challenge.”

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