The Recent Occupation and Industry Employment Patterns of American Veterans

Published in: Armed Forces & Society, Volume 43, Number 4 (October 2017), pages 695-710. doi: 10.1177/0095327X16659875

Posted on RAND.org on October 04, 2017

by David Schulker

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Programs aiming to ease the transition from military to civilian life have increasingly focused on specific occupation areas where veteran skills might overlap with civilian job requirements. This research uses the American Community Survey to examine the occupations and industries that veterans tend to work in as well as how veteran incomes compare to similar nonveterans in each area. Results show that veterans tend to seek civilian occupations where military experience is likely to apply, as areas of veteran overrepresentation echo technical military functions. Furthermore, veterans generally tend to earn higher incomes than similar nonveterans in these areas of potential military-civilian overlap, but most income differences are relatively moderate. The results imply that programs encouraging transitioning military members to find a civilian occupation that is similar to their military experience may better assist those in military occupations with clear civilian applications.

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