31% of Federal Employees are Veterans

Saturday, August 29, 2015
(graphic: Steve Straehley, AllGov)

One of President Barack Obama’s goals when he came into office was to get the federal government to hire more veterans, particularly since job prospects in 2009 were bleak for those who had served in the military.


A new report (pdf) shows the emphasis on hiring veterans has paid off, at least as far as getting them into federal positions. But keeping them there is another matter.


The report by the Office of Personnel Management says 31% of all federal workers are now veterans. Veterans made up nearly half of all new government hires during fiscal year 2014. The rate, 47.4%, is at its highest in five years.


But as Lisa Rein at The Washington Post points out, the “bad news is that once veterans get into government, they don’t stay long. They’re more likely to leave their jobs within two years than non-veterans.”


The State Department and the Pentagon, have had success keeping more veterans than non-veterans around. But others have seen nearly 40% of their veteran hires quit within two years. At the Small Business Administration, only 62% of veterans stayed two years or more, compared to 88% of non-veterans. The Department of Commerce kept 68% of its veterans two years or more compared to 82% for non-veterans, while the Department of Veterans Affairs, “traditionally a draw for former troops,” Rein noted, held almost 75% of its veteran workers, compared to 20% of its non-veterans.

-Noel Brinkerhoff


To Learn More:

Employment of Veterans in the Federal Executive Branch Fiscal Year 2014 (Office of Personnel Management) (pdf)

Record Numbers of Veterans Are Getting Jobs in the Government — But a Lot of Them Quit (by Lisa Rein, Washington Post)

Federal Hiring of Veterans Keeps Growing and Vet Unemployment Hits 7-Year Low (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)

Federal Push to Hire Veterans Reduces Jobs Available for Women (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)


Elaine 8 years ago
Sounds like management was doing the Vets bad in the post office and they just quit or got fired. That's strange that our vets wouldn't stay in the service w/ all those good benefits and high hourly pay.
VA Alum 8 years ago
Vets are the first ones to leave VA when they see the amount of work involved. Too many incompetent vets were hired and I'm a vet. I left burned out!!
Vet, but not a Vet 8 years ago
Why doesn't the Federal Government recognize ALL Vets as Vets? I am a Vet, but not a Vet for RIF. I am a Vet, but I am given zero points on a Federal Job application. One had to be a Vet during one of the 'Conflict' windows to get any recognition at all. This is a slap in the face to us Vets.
CivFed 8 years ago
Like any program that exists to correct an issue or imbalance, does it ever get pulled back once the objective is reached?
FedVet 8 years ago
As a Vet myself, I agree with Civil Servant#2 in that the hired individual should meet the requirement for the job whether the candidate is a Vet or not. I do see everyday how affirmative action is being used incorrectly with Vets and other minorities and please let's not get started on the USAJOBS.GOV system and how Managers manipulate the announcement system. I do believe that more qualified Vets should be hired in lieu of civilians for Federal Service, specially the VA System. Vets are the best suited to work with other Vets. Vets not only have the qualifications to do any job, we also bring with us our Military experience specially to the VA, which civilians just can't relate to. On the other hand, although Vet hiring efforts have been publicized at the Federal Government, some of those positions are simply used to prop up the numbers. Once the get their budgets approved people are then let go or not converted into Permanent positions as promised when hired. It happened to me at DHS. Again example of civilian run organizations. More emphasis is given to spreadsheets than taking care of your people.
Civil Servant #2 8 years ago
Affirmative action is wrong, no matter who you are preferring over more highly qualified candidates. They don't mention how many announcements are cancelled because veterans at the lowest level of qualification for the positions are the only names on the referral list. This policy has failed to improve the federal service and done a disservice to highly qualified applicants who have little chance of entering the federal civil service. Labeling people as "heroes" does not mean they are the highest qualified candidate for a given position. The retention stats in the article attest to the fact that when the applicant - job match is based on other than merit and on personal characteristics, the employees end up leaving early.

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