Study: Raise Awareness of Army Civilian Jobs

Study: Raise Awareness of Army Civilian Jobs

Shaking hands
Photo by: U.S. Army/Mike Strasser

The Army is assessing its branding and marketing strategy as it works to recruit and retain talented job seekers to serve as civilian employees, according to a recent study.

The Rand Corp. study titled “Improving the Department of the Army’s Marketing for Recruitment, Hiring, and Retention of Civilians in Critical Occupations” found a lack of awareness of Army civilian opportunities. That lack of awareness is of “ fundamental importance,” the report says.

“Only about 40 percent of students and younger professionals are aware that there are civilian jobs with the Army, and under 60 percent of older professionals are aware that civil service jobs exist within the Army,” the report says. “Increasing this awareness will be critical to expanding the pool of qualified applicants.”

More than 330,000 people serve as Army civilians, according to the Army. Army civilians have access to over 540 careers and 31 career programs, and they fill critical noncombat positions. 

Potential applicants for Army civilian jobs also have concerns about working in a DoD role, though they are unfounded, the report says. Applicants’ concerns include being transferred involuntarily, being required to live in places they don’t want to and low salary, among others. 

“Almost all of these concerns are erroneous. Although DoD can require civilians to transfer and to deploy, it almost never does. … Salaries are not entirely out of the range of acceptability … and total compensation is often better for Army occupations,” the study found. “While these particular concerns may be ill-founded, their existence is a reality with which Army marketing and branding efforts must contend.” 

Marketing efforts and recruiting and hiring officials can assuage potential applicants’ fears, the study says. “Recruiting and hiring officials must have the facts at hand to do so when and if potential applicants raise them,” it says. “Marketing the variety of possible job assignment locations available to choose from and benefits provided to Army civilian employees may be effective in assisting recruiting efforts.” 

Moving forward, the Army will need to emphasize the benefits of serving as an Army civilian as it works to bolster recruitment and retention. 

“The Army needs to retain civilian employees as well as attract them,” the study says. “For that reason, it remains important to continue to emphasize aspects such as career and geographic mobility and service to soldiers and the nation, even if such themes may have less attraction to external audiences.” 

The full report is available here.

On May 4, the Association of the U.S. Army will host an event honoring Army civilians. Held in conjunction with Public Service Recognition Week, the AUSA event will feature Agnes Schaefer, assistant Army secretary for manpower and reserve affairs. For more information or to register, click here.