Cover: Wage Growth in the Civilian Careers of Military Retirees

Wage Growth in the Civilian Careers of Military Retirees

Published Mar 1, 2002

by David S. Loughran


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More than 20,000 individuals retire each year from the United Statesmilitary who are eligible to receive a guaranteed annuity amounting to halfor more of their basic military pay. Separating from the military at anaverage age of 43, the overwhelming majority of these retirees enter secondcareers in the civilian sector. This book addresses three importantquestions about the civilian labor market experience of military retirees:How do the wages of military retirees upon separation compare with those ofcomparably experienced and educated civilians? Do military retirees enjoyhigher relative wage growth over their second careers than their civilianpeers? Is the transition to civilian employment a difficult process formilitary retirees? The author finds that military retirees earnsubstantially lower wages than their civilian peers upon entering thecivilian labor market and, moreover, the wages of military retirees remainlow relative to civilian wages even as retirees gain civilian labor marketexperience.

The research described in this report was performed under the auspices of RAND's National Security Research Division unit.

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