More ex-serving ADF females held a bachelor degree or higher than the Australian population
Educational qualifications and skill recognition are important factors in how well ex-serving ADF members are able to transition to civilian life (DVA, 2011). Higher levels of education are associated with better health and wellbeing outcomes in the general population (AIHW 2021a).
Factors that were associated with an increased likelihood of ex-serving ADF members having a bachelor degree or higher in 2016 were:
- separated as a Commissioned Officer,
- separated voluntarily from the ADF compared with separating involuntarily for medical reasons,
- being female, and
- separated from the Army or Air Force compared with the Navy.
Age, the number of years since they left ADF service, and overall length of service were also statistically significant in predicting whether an ex-serving ADF member had a bachelor degree or higher in 2016.
In 2016, nearly 2 in 5 (38%) ex-serving ADF females had a bachelor degree or higher, a rate 1.4 times higher than Australian females (26%). In comparison, one quarter (25%) of ex-serving ADF males had a bachelor degree or higher, which was similar to Australian males (22%).
Four in five (81%) ex-serving ADF females who were Commissioned Officers at the time of separation held a bachelor degree or higher in 2016, which was 3.1 times the rate of ex-serving ADF females who were Other Ranks (26%). More than two-thirds of ex-serving male Commissioned Officers (68%) held a bachelor degree or higher, which was 4.5 times the rate of ex-serving ADF males who separated from the ADF as Other Ranks (15%).
Nearly half ex-serving ADF females who separated from the Army (44%) held a bachelor degree or higher in 2016 compared with over a third who had separated from the Air Force (36%), and a quarter (25%) who separated from the Navy (Figure 8). In comparison, just over 1 in 4 ex-serving ADF males who separated from the Air Force (27%) or Army (26%) held a bachelor degree or higher, compared with 17% who had separated from the Navy.
Figure 8: Highest educational attainment of ex-serving ADF members in 2016, by service characteristics