Military Compensation:

Selected Occupational Comparisons With Civilian Compensation

NSIAD-86-113: Published: Jun 19, 1986. Publicly Released: Jun 19, 1986.

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In response to a congressional request, GAO reported on the relationship between military and civilian compensation for similar occupations, skill levels, experience, and responsibilities.

GAO determined that it could make some compensation comparisons between military and civilian jobs, but they were of limited use because: (1) comparisons for some military positions would never be possible because they have no civilian counterparts, or they are not currently feasible for some other military positions because existing pay surveys do not cover civilian counterparts for these positions; (2) pay surveys cannot account for the unique aspects of military life, nor do existing surveys include fringe benefits; (3) military and private-sector organizations are different in terms of missions, goals, and objectives, and thus may require different pay-setting approaches; and (4) the extent to which pay differences affect military retention has not been clearly established. GAO found that, for the small percentage of the enlisted force whose positions in computer-related or other highly skilled occupations were comparable to civilian occupations, military pay was lower.

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