An Analysis of Retention Issues of Scientists,
Engineers, and Program Managers in the US Air Force
Overview of the Survey Results:
The summary below
is just for the entire population of 762 responses.
528 responses were used of the total 762 responses
(others were voided by qualifier questions, questions that appeared more than once but received vastly different responses, or incomplete surveys).
These 528 responses used represents 8.6% of the entire
population of 61's, 62's and 63's at the time of the survey-- a very
significant portion of the entire target population.
93% of the total respondents were active duty, and a
majority of the respondents were CGOs
- Many people were dissatisfied with the recognition system, the OPR system,
the assignment system, and leadership opportunities.
- Many people were very satisfied with the retirement system, travel opportunities,
and education opportunities.
- In regards to leadership, roughly, people were less satisfied the higher
up the chain you refer to. That is, they were more satisfied with their
own supervisor than their unit leadership, which they more satisfied with
than their base leadership, and so on.
- 47% of officers with less than 5 commissioned years of service are leaning
towards not making the AF a career!
- For all respondents, regardless of
years of service, nearly 1/3 were leaning towards
not making the AF a career.
- For 61s and 62s, a vast majority feel they do not have an opportunity
to use their degree or technical skills in their job, and the vast majority
feel they didn't understand how scientists and engineers are utilized in
- For 63s, most felt they knew what acquisitions was before joining the
field or the AF.
- Nearly every 61 and 62 feel they'd be more likely to stay in the AF if
advanced degrees were rewarded in terms of pay.
- Nevertheless, most respondents overall felt their pay was adequate.
- Most people feel their AF job is better than or equal to their civilian
- There is a significant interest in a homesteading policy, and a majority
said they would be more likely to remain in the AF if such a policy existed,
even if it limited them to Lt Col.
- The desire for operational experience seems split...this opportunity
may only be desired by about half the respondents, and even so, it may
have little effect on retention. (this bullet includes some conjecture
a priori analysis)
- Of those intending to separate, the top 3 reasons, in order, are 1) Job
Satisfaction, 2) Assignment System, 3) Pay. It is a hypothesis of this
thesis that pay is not important except when Job Satisfaction is also low.
That is, if Job Satisfaction is high, Pay is not an issue.