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The Five Most Frequently Selected Reasons to Leave the Military Among Surveyed Service members in Retention Critical Specialties - Cont - ns99197b0027

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Briefing Section III
Quality of Life Factors That Were
Dissatisfiers and Reasons to Leave
selected as a reason to leave the military by at least one or more of the
survey participants who indicated an intention to leave the military.
Among the officers surveyed, there was no single factor that a majority of
the respondents indicated was a reason to leave the military. The top five
most frequently selected reasons to leave the military were fairly evenly
distributed in terms of the number that selected these reasons.
Twenty-eight percent of officers selected retirement pay; 28 percent
selected the frequency of deployments; 25 percent selected base pay;
22 percent selected availability of needed equipment, parts, and materials;
and 20 percent selected the level of unit manning as a reason to leave the
military.6
Among the enlisted personnel surveyed, 48 percent indicated base pay was
a reason to leave the military, making this the most frequently selected
reason to leave the military. In terms of the remaining top five factors,
23 percent selected frequency of deployments, 22 percent selected
retirement pay, 21 percent selected promotion opportunities, and
16 percent selected ability to spend time with family and friends.7
All of the factors that officers highlighted as reasons to leave the military,
except base pay, were also listed as dissatisfiers. The fact that base pay
was not a dissatisfier for officers is consistent with the results of another
question included in the survey about financial condition. On average,
77 percent of the officers reported that they either were very comfortable
financially or were able to make ends meet without much difficulty. In
comparison, 40 percent of enlisted personnel said that they were very
comfortable financially or were able to make ends meet without much
difficulty and base pay was a dissatisfier for enlisted personnel overall.
However, more than one reason suggests that base pay may contribute to
the stated intention to leave. First, as we noted earlier, responses could
have been influenced by the attention associated with DOD's proposed pay
increase that occurred at the same time as our survey. Second, as might be
expected, base pay may have been cited as a reason to leave to reflect the
potential pull of higher paying jobs outside of the military. While we did not
collect data on this issue, in focus group discussions and written
6
The percentages will not add to 100 because the respondents selected more than one reason to leave
the military.
7
The percentages will not add to 100 because the respondents selected more than one reason to leave
the military.
Page 25
GAO/NSIAD-99-197BR Quality of Life and Retention

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