Military Personnel:

Perceptions of Retention-Critical Personnel Are Similar to Those of Other Enlisted Personnel

GAO-01-785: Published: Jun 28, 2001. Publicly Released: Jun 28, 2001.

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This report reviews the Department of Defense's 1999 broad-based survey of active duty personnel to help shed light on why servicemembers in critical occupational areas might be leaving the military. From comparing the responses of retention-critical personnel against other enlisted personnel, GAO concludes that personnel in retention-critical occupations are not being "pushed out" of the military by their experiences at a greater rate than other enlisted personnel. Rather, to the extent they possess marketable skills, it is more likely they are being "pulled out" of the military by more attractive civilian opportunities. Comparing retention-critical personnel against other enlisted personnel, GAO found that the expectations and experiences of personnel serving in retention-critical occupations were often similar to those of other enlisted personnel. Personnel in retention-critical occupations were generally as satisfied with military life as were other enlisted personnel and each group's career intentions were similar. Nearly half of both retention-critical and other enlisted personnel were satisfied with the military way of life. Perceptions of civilian life for those serving in retention-critical occupations were mixed. Overall, most enlisted personnel had a positive perception about work-related opportunities and the quality of life available in the civilian world. Those in retention-critical occupations that had highly marketable skills, such as electronics equipment repairers, were especially optimistic about their prospects for civilian employment.

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