VetAdvisor/IVMF Veterans Job Retention Survey Results

VetAdvisor and the Institute for Veterans and Military Families at Syracuse University (IVMF) recently partnered in a research effort aimed to better understand post-military veteran employment. Anecdotal evidence led us to believe that a significant number of veterans leave their initial post-military more quickly than their civilian counterparts. VetAdvisor and IVMF conducted the National Veterans Job Retention Survey of nearly 1,500 veterans to support or refute this evidence, and to collect data to use in developing programs and services for employers to help increase veteran employee retention.

The survey explored how veterans find their initial post-military job and the reasons why they choose to leave them for new jobs. The VetAdvisor/IVMF Veterans Job Retention Survey results expand on the limited research and data in this specific area and provide organizations an understanding of how to best structure their veteran-centric employee retention programs and improve veteran retention in the workplace.

Results and Findings

In all, 43% of respondents remained in their first civilian job 12 months or less. More than 80% of respondents were in their first job less than 2 years. Respondents reported longer average job tenure when employed in their preferred career field. Officers reported longer average job tenure than enlisted personnel, particularly for their first post-military job. Only 15% of respondents are currently working in their first post-military job. Respondents identified the opportunity to use their skills and abilities acquired in the military as the most important aspect of satisfaction in civilian employment. Benefits and meaningfulness were also extremely important retention considerations.

27% of the respondents are unemployed with 46% searching for work for 26 weeks or more. Veterans identified the biggest obstacle to attaining employment was finding opportunities that match past military training and experience.


Nearly half of veterans who responded to the VetAdvisor/IVMF Job Retention Survey stayed in their first post-separation job for 12 months or less. It is therefore imperative that organizations that wish to recruit and retain veteran employees develop veteran-centric recruitment and retention strategies, as well as benefit programs geared toward veterans.

Specifically, organizations wishing to increase veteran employee retention should: provide education on translation of military skills to corporate recruiters and HR professionals; develop veteran-centric employee benefit programs such as career and life coaching to assist veteran employees in developing a post-military career path; and develop streamlined and expedited job search programs for veterans to provide a better match between employers and job seekers experience.