A Great Place to Start? The Effect of Prior Military Service on Hiring

January, 2009

This article explores the effect of US military service on future employment opportunities, including the influence of racial factors, which results suggest that, for example, military service has a positive impact on the employment of veterans of colour over civilians of colour, when both groups are considered for civilian roles.


This article examines the effect of prior military service on hiring for entry-level jobs in a major metropolitan labor market. The research employs an audit method in which resumes differing only in the presentation of military experience versus civilian work experience are faxed in response to an advertised position. Results suggest that employers exhibit preferential treatment of black military veterans with transferable skills over black nonveterans. Veterans with traditional military experience in the combat arms do not experience preferential treatment by employers, regardless of racial/ethnic background. These findings suggest a possible mechanism generating the postmilitary employment benefit among blacks found in prior observational studies. A veteran premium in hiring may stem from the concentration of blacks in military occupational specialties with a high degree of civilian transferability, combined with employer preferences for military veterans with such work experience over their nonveteran peers.

Full Reference

Kleykamp, M., 2009. A Great Place to Start? The Effect of Prior Military Service on Hiring. Armed Forces & Society, 35(2), 266-285.

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