Study of female junior officer retention and promotion in the U.S. Navy
Mundell, David J.
Mehay, Stephen L.
Eitelberg, Mark J.
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The Military Leadership Diversity Commission of 2011 and top Navy leaders have stressed the importance of achieving gender integration in the military, making it one of Navy’s top priorities. This study examines the promotion and retention rates of Navy officers, focusing on women of various racial/ethnic backgrounds. The study uses quantitative multivariate analysis to identify demographic and professional factors, such as gender, race/ethnicity, educational level, commissioning source, and Navy designator (military occupational specialty) to explain differences in outcomes of retention, promotion, and lateral transfers to another community. Using data on over 16,000 Navy officers commissioned from 1999 to 2003, the results from regression analyses show that women are less likely than men to stay in the Navy but show no difference in promotion rates to O-4 and lateral transfers to another community. Also, officers who obtain graduate-level education or transfer laterally to another community by 10 years of service have higher rates of retention and promotion. Thus, one approach toward retaining more women in the Navy is to expand their opportunities for graduate-level education and lateral transfer. Further research is needed to study the influence of these factors, particularly lateral transfers, on the stay–leave decisions of women.
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