What Career Awaits Veterans After Service?
Veterans leave the military equipped with a special set of skills
Veteran graduates make on average 14% more than non-Veteran graduates in their first job after college.
Differences in major choices between Veteran and non-Veteran students potentially explain the salary gap. Veterans study Computer Science twice as often as non-Veterans. A larger share of Veterans also study business.
Veteran graduates have a special set of skills that directly stem from their military training, such as security clearance and emergency and crisis management. These skills make Veteran graduates well-suited for roles in public administration and with defense contractors.
The GI Bill provides education benefits to Veterans and their dependents to support their pursuit of higher education and job training. These benefits serve as an incentive for young people to consider military service as a pathway to further their education and career prospects. According to our workforce intelligence data, from 2013 to 2022, 70% of individuals who enlisted in the US military immediately after high school went on to complete an undergraduate degree at either a 4-year or a 2-year college. Among this group, 53% pursued higher education within one year of concluding their military service. As we commemorate Veterans Day, we look at the educational and career achievements of Veterans who served in the military before pursuing higher education.
How do outcomes of graduates who previously served in the military compare to those who did not? Revelio Labs finds that Veteran graduates have a higher starting salary than non-Veteran graduates for their first job after college. After controlling for degree and university, we find that Veteran graduates make on average 14% more than non-Veteran graduates. This may be attributed to Veterans’ military experience, which sets their skills apart from other graduates.
Another plausible explanation for the observed difference in starting salaries between Veteran and non-Veteran graduates is the differences in major choices which determine the professions they pursue after graduation. Controlling for the university that the students attend, we find that a larger share of Veteran students choose to major in Business and Computer Science compared to non-Veteran students. In a previous newsletter, we demonstrated the increasing popularity of Computer Science among college majors; and Veteran students follow this trend. Veteran students are also less likely to major in Social Sciences or Art and Literature. Computer Science jobs are in high demand and pay significantly more than other jobs that require degrees in Social Sciences and Art.
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Veteran graduates possess a distinct array of skills directly stemming from their military training. Notably, their skill sets include areas such as security clearance, emergency and crisis management, and aerospace, our workforce intelligence data show. Revelio Labs data show that these skills tend to be more prevalent in the profiles of Veteran graduates in comparison to their non-Veteran peers.
These specific skills render Veteran graduates particularly well-suited for roles that demand such expertise. For example, Veterans are more inclined to pursue careers in government, the military, or with defense contractors. Many of these positions require security clearance, which Veterans are often able to obtain more expediently than their non-Veteran counterparts.