The Department of Defense issues the greatest number of security clearances and maintains the largest segment of the cleared population. Within the approximately 4 million DoD security clearances, roughly 40% of those clearances belong to active duty service members.

Our annual ClearanceJobs compensation survey unpacks the salary and compensation for cleared respondents. Last year we separated out compensation for active duty service members to get a glimpse at how active duty pay compares to the overall clearance population.

Military pay may be set in stone – and it largely is while service members are serving, with slight fluctuations based on geography, cost of living, and family situation. But ignoring active duty pay is a mistake for both service members and the defense contractors looking to hire them. With approximately 200,000 service members separating from the military each year, they remain a significant cleared talent pool and a critical part of almost every company’s cleared hiring efforts.

Even including housing allowances and other financial perks, the majority of military members are paid less than their counterparts in non-active duty positions. While factors like job, location, and experience play a role, just 40% of the cleared industry make less than $85,000 per year – compared to 69% active duty.

For the overall cleared industry, average total compensation in 2022 was $101,395. For military members, the average total compensation was significantly lower at $74,527. When military members make their transition, it’s common for new veterans to accept salary numbers that are lower than their coworkers. That should raise caution among defense industry employers who may be tempted to offer transitioning veterans a salary at only a marginal increase from their active duty pay. But service members not only face compensation at a lower overall figure than their civilian counterparts, they’re also typically more likely to land in an initial job they later leave –  43% of veterans will quit their first civilian job in the first year after their transition, and over 65% leave in the second year.

Defense employers want to hire qualified talent, and they want to keep them. They also want to help veterans transition into civilian employment. While your company may have a great veteran recruiting program, if it doesn’t also include pay parity with equivalent civilian positions, you may be making yourself the rebound relationship – not the long term hire.

Unpack more statistics and information about military compensation you can use to fuel your military hiring programs in our latest white paper, Profile of a Cleared Veteran.

This past year, 10,004 Active-Duty respondents filled out the 2022 Security Clearance Compensation Report, offering an insight of how their compensation and experiences compares to the current industry.

Related News

Evan H. Lesser is the Co-Founder and Managing Director of Before founding ClearanceJobs, Mr. Lesser managed technical projects with CACI for the U.S. Navy's Science and Technology directorate at the Pentagon, and for the Joint Technology Panel on Electronic Warfare. Previously, he worked for Boeing on its Reserve Component Automation System program for the U.S. Army in metro Washington, DC. Mr. Lesser has a degree in Philosophy from the University of Georgia in Athens, and lives and works in the Atlanta metropolitan area.