Labour market outcomes of Veterans

January, 2019

This Canadian study uses labour market indicators found in two studies to determine the employment outcomes for Canadian veterans, when they transition from military to civilian life. The paper made several findings including a high rate of satisfaction in employed veterans, those that were unemployed were likely to be younger at release, and have fewer years of service. Employment rates were also found to be lower in female veterans and those that had been medically discharged.


Introduction: Employment is important to health, well-being, and adjustment from military to civilian life. Given the importance of employment, we examine Veteran labour force outcomes in Canada. Methods: We examined labour market indicators from the 2010 and 2013 Life After Service Studies cross-sectional Survey on Transition to Civilian Life, along with the 2013 Income Study for Canadian Regular Force Veterans (released since 1998). Results: In Canada, most Regular Force Veterans surveyed were employed after release and satisfied with their work – both employment and satisfaction rates grew over time. The unemployment rate did not differ from that of the general Canadian population. However, Veterans were more likely than the general Canadian population to experience activity limitations at work. Variations in outcomes were found across diverse groups of the population. For example, unemployed Veterans were younger at release, had the fewest years of service, and were more likely to have served in the Army than employed Veterans. Veterans who were not in the labour force were older and had more years of service, and many were experiencing barriers to work. Employment rates were lower among female Veterans and among medically released Veterans. Discussion: Labour market outcomes vary across sub-groups of the Veteran population, suggesting targeted approaches to improve labour market outcomes. Findings suggest that the prevention of work disability is important for improving outcomes. Best practices in preventing work disability include restructuring compensation to recognize varying degrees of earnings capacity and to encourage labour market engagement and supported employment programs.

Full Reference

MacLean, M. B., Keough, J., Poirier, A., McKinnon, K. and Sweet, J., 2019. Labour market outcomes of Veterans. JMVFH, 5(1). doi: 10.3138/jmvfh.2017-0016.

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