The next best alternative to an ideal recruit attrition characteristics of recruits with waivers and low educational credentials in the Army
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The supply of high quality recruits is limited and services are facing a diminishing recruiting market. Under these constraints, it is important to identify which groups of recruits are the next best alternatives to an ideal recruit. This research examines the attrition rates of recruits with less-than ideal qualifications which include recruits enlisted with waivers, without high school diploma or with low AFQT scores in the U.S. Army. The secondary focus of this study is to analyze the effect of a conduct or drug waiver on attrition due to behavioral or drug problems. We use data from the Defense Manpower Data Center (DMDC) consisting of all enlisted accessions for U.S. Army between fiscal year 2000 and fiscal year 2006. We employ multivariate data analysis to analyze both attrition and unsuitability attrition. The study reveals that educational credentials have a decreasing effect on both attrition and unsuitability attrition. Conduct waivers have a decreasing effect on early attrition, but an increasing effect on first term attrition. Unsuitability attrition rates of recruits with conduct waivers are higher for all subcategories with drug waivers leading. Recruits with medical waivers are more likely to attrite in all attrition points, but this effect is likely to be offset by higher educational standards. They are also less likely to attrite for unsuitability reasons.
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