Military pay is just fine

Military news has been scattered with headlines about a recent study that came out about military pay.  The study says the military used to get paid 50-60% equivalent to their civilian counterparts, now they are getting paid closer to 70% and higher.

Overall, the study was conducted from a human resources aspect and includes pay incentives, etc.  It also went into how military recruiting aptitude did not improve, even as the pay scales did.  So, let’s take a step back and look at this.

Both military and civilians get paid on based on the Employment Cost Index, reference found here.  Now, it shows the average ECI was 100 points in 2005, whereas the average now is just over 130 points.  By that logic, an increase by 30%.  Looking at the annual military pay raise percentages, the military has also increased by approximately 30% (you can add it up with the chart we used, here.)

So, with inflation and all else involved, civilians and military are currently getting paid at approximately the same rate.  Now, let’s look at the responsibilities, training, of each.  Let’s take a mechanic for example.

A civilian mechanic may or may not go to school to learn the trade.  They may go ahead and work at different shops, picking up experience as they go along.  A mechanic usually starts at minimum wage, beginning with oil changes and basic shop hand tasks.  Then, as they learn more, they do more, and ultimately get paid more.

Now, let’s assume someone joining the military as a mechanic has minimal experience in the field.  They go off for training, learning how to be a rifleman first.  Getting trained on completely different skill sets before they go off to technical school, where they learn the skill they will be primarily doing in the military.  The mechanic learns his trade, all while starting at the bottom for pay, and also being a shop hand.  However, mechanics just starting in the military, do more than just oil changes and shop hand work.  They come out of a short technical school as higher level, but still have to appropriately move through the military ranks.

Let’s jump to the later years for both.  A civilian mechanic may or may not go through technical training or specialized courses, depending on their shop requirements, how well they have been able to learn, etc.  All circumstantial with quite a view variants.  It may take over a decade for a mechanic to truly learn enough to run a shop as a secondary hand or become lead mechanic.

Meanwhile, the military mechanic is required to go through additional mechanic schooling, leadership courses, rifleman training, etc. to retain proficiency on all three.  In a decade, a member of the military may rank as low as E-5 and could potentially get to E-6 or E-7, based on their circumstances.  They are also in charge of multiple personnel, their well-being, training on the aforementioned tasks, and so forth.

Now, no one is saying civilian mechanics are in any way less important than military.  You could put any number of job titles and descriptions in those paragraphs.  The point is the responsibility and the dynamic the military member has in their job over a civilian that equates them to retain the amount of pay they get.

The study tries to say that military members, from a human resources standpoint, may not be ‘worth’ the full cost like a civilian employee.  They also attempt to say this is because civilians have to pay for their housing and food costs, while military members get additional pay for that.

Honestly, we could go into paragraphs arguing about those facts too.  The fact of the matter is- military members earn their pay and work hard, just like everyone else.

What do you think?  Should pay rates slow down? Are military members getting paid too much on the pay scale of their civilian counterparts?

You can check out the report, here.


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11 thoughts on “Military pay is just fine”

  1. How many mechanics live their lives under the strict rules of the military? Or the ever present chance if orders or deploying? Oh. And they can “quit” or change jobs whenever they like. How many spend weekends scrubbing barracks or mowing grass and painting rocks??? Military life is a 24x7x365 commitment not a a 40 hour a week job.

  2. The military deserve EVERY DIME they are paid. The average civilian doesn’t get to miss out on holiday celebrations, brithdays, weddings funerals and they like. The only others that come close are nurses and LEO’s. So the whiney public can piss off. What their benefits make their sacrifice.

  3. Not to mention Military personnel are on call 7/24 with no overtime pay, they’re also required to be apart from their families for months sometime in combat areas where they risk their lives. All Military are first infantry with a secondary skill.

  4. I’m shocked this isn’t a satire piece. Please do yourself a favor and learn before you write. The unwritten and untold hardships/ regulations of the military are unknown to so many. They give up so much of their freedom in order to protect yours. Try enlisting or joining before you start writing from your home while they are underway protecting your ability to write these articles.

    1. Nick, oh man, did you read the article? If you did, you would see that I continually expressed how the military deserves every single dime they make. I am actually still serving our great nation, so again, misfire. Thanks!

  5. No civilian mechanic will be in combat or be sent to some foreign country. Always on duty 24/7. So no pay does not match the job. Raise Military pay.

  6. No. Military is not getting payed to much. I don’t think people outside of the military realize how much of are check we actually get. An 3rd class in the Navy makes roughly 2000 of not a little more every month. From that. We only see maybe 800 or 900 every check in the 1st month. And less than that in the 2nd, maybe 500-600. So every month if we didn’t spend anything we would see about 1500-1600 a month. And this is an estimate From when I last talkes about it with a few of my friends. So we get payed Equally as them. And on top of that. More prone to danger than have half the civilians complaining about it. And in an environment that is almost always high risk and very stressful. We don’t get days off. Civilians do. We can’t call in sick. They can. We can’t get away from the people who make us angry or who we hate or stress’s us out. They can. We can’t afford to quite. They can. If anything we should be payed more. And one other. If the a civilian pushes he/ or she, can get over time we dont…ever. any and every increase we get for now is very much well deserved. Only military and military related can actually argue with this. Not a civilian who only knows about a few stories there told via media or in person.

  7. There are not enough people who are willing to step up and do what others are unwilling to do. These guys and gals should get another 20% on top of what they are getting already. They earn it every day. Let those who say otherwise do the jobs our Armed Forces do, and then they will change their mind.

  8. You are only using a mechanic for comparison. How do you compare the amount of money that someone in special operations compares to the civilian world. Civilian contractors doing the same duties as special operations makes double to triple as that operator. If anything those who put their lives on the lines should be making a lot more money. That’s why you see it in special operations retention dropping consistently every year.

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