What branch retains the most officers through retirement?

Discussion in 'Life After the Academy' started by glithfire, Aug 17, 2015.

  1. glithfire

    glithfire New Member

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    I was wondering what branch retains the most officers through their 20 years. Mainly I want to see Navy vs. Air Force (aviation more specifically if possible) but I think it would be interesting to see all the branches statistics compared too. I've looked all over the internet for this and have not been able to find out, maybe a vet here could give some firsthand experience as opposed to a statistic.

    My guess is it would be the Air Force due to the nature of their missions and the amount of pilots, but I am not sure. Basically, I want to look at this statistic to see which branch officers are most likely to be content with a military career.

    My guess:
    1. Air Force
    2. Coast Guard
    3. Navy
    4. Army
    5. Marines
     
  2. billyb

    billyb Member

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    I don't know the #s but I would guess air force as well, but for a different reason. The quality of life in the air force seems much higher than in the other services. Have you ever been to a air force base and then compare it to a army base? Compare the housing, golf courses etc...... I know those are tangential to the mission of the service, but a happy family sure makes it a lot easier to stay in the service.
     
  3. LineInTheSand

    LineInTheSand USCGA 2006

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    Percentage or raw numbers. Raw numbers, making up 6% of the military, the USCG will be last. Percentage? Much higher.
     
  4. glithfire

    glithfire New Member

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  5. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    I would also guess the AF, but I want to add that you might see these numbers change a lot in the near future since the commercial airlines are starting to hire at a faster pace than the last 15 years. They have even upped the bonus, but the rate signing on is lower than they wanted.

    I am just saying that the rates of remaining for 20, can vary alot depending on how our economy is doing. Nobody that winged in 1992, with the ability to walk in 2001 could predict 9/11. They could not predict airlines not hiring for over a decade. Thus, we truly can't say what the rate would be really like from a historical data. They only started hiring in the past 2 years. Thus, you maybe able to only find 1 year of data.

    Finally, the AF has always been known to be the corporate branch, not on the flight schedule for the day and you will be able to get home in time to shuttle the rugrats to soccer practice. 8-4 is common, even at the Pentagon you will see a mass exodus between 4-4:30. Their deployments typically are 4 months, with 12 months back home. The joke is that as soon as they put in the runway, they than build the O Club, followed by the golf course. Their housing is usually ranked at the top all branches. All of this occurs impo because the AF calls rated officers the million dollar men/women since it costs that much to train them.
    ~ You owe 9 years upon winging, and don't be fooled they know why this is also a perfect time. At this time they are usually up for O4 and being thrown hundred thousand+ (50% up front) to hang. Won't swear, but I believe fighter pilots are now being offered 225K to stay until 19 years. Heavies have a different bonus program. Take it and sure as sheaat you are going to stay until 20.
    ~~ The thing is now look at from that pilot's perspective. They are about 33. Many are married, have kids, a mtg maybe and 2 car pmts, that bonus on top of O4 pay looks pretty appealing compared to the low pay airlines start pilots off on for the first 3-5 years. It becomes a financial decision, and taking 3 more tours with 50% base pay for retirement starts to look a lot better. Add in the idea that at this marker you maybe flying in Arkansas or SC and want to move back home in the state of California, where that 40K starting salary means your spouse that was a stay at home parent, now needs to get a job for several years until you move from the left seat to the right. All of the sudden that money (bonus) is very alluring.
    ~~~ JMPO, the ones that do leave at 33, have spent years of investing so they can walk away. Our DS is a heavy pilot. He always thought he would do 20, but right now he is doing heavy investment so if he decides to leave at 33, his wife will still be able to stay at home with their children. He squirrels away a lot of money, to the angst of my daughter in law. Don't get me wrong, they live a nice life. Purchased a beautiful home at 24, 2 cars less than 3 years old, 1 is already paid off. However, he makes sure that they can live only off of his salary. Her salary is completely invested. He reminds her that he is doing this because if he does walk at the 9 year marker, she will be able to stay at home because they can dip into savings for the 1st few years.
     
    Last edited: Aug 18, 2015
  6. Kanye's Dad's Sock Puppet

    Kanye's Dad's Sock Puppet Banned

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    I believe as a % it is Coast Guard by a wide margin but it has been a while since I went digging for this. The 5 year retention rates use to be much more easily accessed than the 20 year rates so try that as a first step.
     
  7. Stealth_81

    Stealth_81 Super Moderator Moderator Founding Member

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    10 years.

    Stealth_81
     
  8. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    I thought it was 10 years total. @ 1 year UPT and 9 years after winging, hence 10 years total.

    Honestly, I do not talk to my DS about the time owed.

    If it is 10 from winging, than I would assume that you can expect a higher % for rated. Right now, many UPT students wait for 6-9 months, even 12 months before starting UPT. UPT is @ 13 months to winging. That equates to 12 years in before they can walk ... or 2-3 more tours from retirement and 50% base pay for an O5 until the day they die.
     
  9. MemberLG

    MemberLG Member

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    I scanned it, but this study might be what you are looking for as it looks at all the variables. Appears that if I read the study correctly (page 18), your guess is pretty good (the study didn't include Coast Guard).

    Toward Improved Management of Officer Retention
    http://www.rand.org/content/dam/rand/pubs/research_reports/RR700/RR764/RAND_RR764.pdf
     
  10. hornetguy

    hornetguy USAFA Cadet

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    Officer retention to retirement is a very poor indicator of being "content with military career" or branch. Don't put much credence into such a statistic.
     
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  11. Kanye's Dad's Sock Puppet

    Kanye's Dad's Sock Puppet Banned

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    That's similar to what I had seen. About 50% at 5 years and around 20% ( I recall 10% but this refutes that) at 20 years for army, navy and air force. I remembered this because the coast guard numbers at 5 years were so much higher. Recalling 80-90% retention at 5 years for them. That seems to say something.
     
  12. cga82

    cga82 Banned

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    The Coast Guard would be easily number 1. Almost everyone is stationed in the U.S. Deployment means going out for a few weeks-some cases like icebreakers are different but not the norm and are negligible to the CG norm.
     
  13. buffalo

    buffalo USAFA 2013

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    It is ten years after earning wings, but regardless, you are right that AF pilots will be at 11.5-12 years of service by the time that service commitment expires.
     
  14. time2

    time2 Member

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    I agree, being satisfied in your choice of career has more to do with what your skills/abilities and interests are and very little to do with what others happen to think of their career choice. That is true whether you are talking about the military or a private sector career.

    I don't think you should look at studies or statistics to decide which branch of the military is right for you.
     
  15. hornetguy

    hornetguy USAFA Cadet

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    time2, I do inherently agree with your statement completely.

    As an analyst, I'm also pointing out that the 20 year retention "statistic" is also a terrible indicator, on its own, of career satisfaction.
     
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  16. MemberLG

    MemberLG Member

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    If so, what would be a good measure of career satisfaction? If not satisified, why do some folks stay for 20+ years?
     
  17. LineInTheSand

    LineInTheSand USCGA 2006

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    Hahaha, for that nice retirement paycheck of course.
     
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  18. hornetguy

    hornetguy USAFA Cadet

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    The short answer: there isn't a single measure that would sufficiently explain career satisfaction (other than directly asking "are you satisfied with your career?"). RAND has done many, many studies on the topic. I've linked to the methodology in an older paper from the 90s. RAND Report

    There are so many factors that retention to 20 is hard to use as a satisfaction measure. Here's a hypothetical:
    There are two 10-year officers considering their options. One is a Rhodes Scholar, published physicist who has performed incredibly well in AFRL and will likely promote without fail. They also really like their job. They receive an offer to become a senior researcher, at twice their current pay, at NASA JPL. The other is an English major who has worked in PA all their career. They are a decent officer but hates the job and would love to do something else. The best job opportunity they could find pays 20K less and has limited career progression. The first gets out, the second stays in (and maybe hits 20). Is 20-year retention a good measure of career satisfaction?

    Retention is more than loving the job. It's economics, family, satisfaction, and opportunity all contingent upon that person's skills in their specific niche. Thankfully we have places like RAND that have gotten pretty good at monetizing the likelihood of retention by incorporating the broad swath of data points on people. One that Pima would probably enjoy reading is a 2011 USAFA RAND fellow who did his dissertation on pilot retention/attrition predictions during the upcoming airline hiring boom.
     
  19. NavyHoops

    NavyHoops Moderator

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    The reasons I have heard for people to stay would baffle most people. But, they are in the minority. Just seeing what my friends have done or are doing... most stay for the retirement pay, they enjoy flying F/A-18s, they are comfortable with the military life and what is provides for their families, chances at grad school, etc. Some of my friends have really enjoyed their careers and others have not, most fall in between here. Some got to the point where they put so much into it, it wasn't worth it to bail and others wouldn't stay no matter what (I had a buddy bail at 17 years). The current economy plays a large role in retention. Flying Helos vs. Heavies in the USAF will probably see much different retention numbers in the hiring boom coming up.

    Bottom line is pick the service that best suites your strengths and desire. That is the service you are most likely to stay in. If you hate camping, dirt, hiking, nature... don't join the Army. If you hate the thought of stepping foot on a ship... don't join the Navy or Coast Guard.
     
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  20. MemberLG

    MemberLG Member

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    This reminds me of a question I ask when I interview candidates - Why West Point? The answer I like and want to hear is to defend our country, not education, benefits, fly F something, grad school, and etc . . .
     

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