If you're one of the 1.7 million female servicemembers ready to transition into the civilian workforce and feel a bit intimidated by your civilian job seekers, don't worry. Your military education and training gives you an edge over your competition. Employers hire female veterans for their strong work ethic that was obtained in the service, which can lead to a higher income for women with an education and military experience. "Military education and work experience may translate into higher paying civilian jobs than women with a high school degree would normally expect," said Census Bureau Demographer Kelly Holder in a Census report. In fact, female veterans earned more ($32,217) in 2005, compared to women with no military experience ($27,272), according to the U.S. Census Bureau. But, even though women veterans made more than their civilian counterparts, they also worked longer hours. According to Census Bureau data, 84.3 percent of female veterans are more likely to work 35-plus hours per week, compared to 77 percent of civilian women. And, 73.1 percent of female vets work at least 50 weeks per year compared to 71.6 of their civilian counterparts. "Veteran status seems to offer an earnings advantage for women. However, female veterans are also more likely to work full-time hours," Holder added. Additionally, male veterans fared better against civilians, averaging $42,128 in yearly income compared to $39,880 for nonveterans. But, Holder says this gap is deceiving. When the Census Bureau compared demographic characteristics — age, race, marital status, education — and similar work hours between male veterans and men without military experience they found that male vets earned significantly less. "Male veterans may have less job experience, and thus lower earning, than similar nonveterans for their age because they enter the civilian labor force later," said Holder. The report attributes a lack of a college degree to the wage gap between male and female veterans. Only 16.3 percent of male veterans had a bachelor's degree compared to 20.5 percent of their civilian counter parts, according to the Census Bureau. Male veterans can close that gap by using the new GI Bill to get a professional certificate or degree that will push them ahead of nonveterans. Just visit Military.com's Education center to learn more about this benefit. And, female veterans that want to find a job can search
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