Homeland Security Operational Analysis Center (HSOAC) Santa Monica United States
The U.S. Coast Guard aims to attract, recruit, and retain a workforce from all segments of American society. Currently, however, women leave the active-duty Coast Guard at higher rates than men. There has been prior research on women in the Coast Guard and gender differences in retention, which has provided some insight into female retention issues. However, the last large-scale study sponsored by the Coast Guard on womens issues was conducted in 1990, leaving a gap in current understanding regarding the issues women in the Coast Guard face today that influence retention decisions. To better understand the gender gap in retention, the Coast Guards Office of Diversity and Inclusion asked the Homeland Security Operational Analysis Center HSOAC to identify the root causes of female attrition and develop recommendations that will help mitigate identified barriers to the retention of women in the Coast Guard. The research team took a mixed-methods approach to this study that included 1. examination of female retention trends in the other military services and the private sector. 2. focus groups with active-duty women in the Coast Guard to better understand potential barriers to female retention, and focus groups with a small sample of active-duty Coast Guard men to serve as a comparison. 3. a statistical analysis of Coast Guard personnel data to examine gender differences in retention of active-duty officers and enlisted personnel and whether certain characteristics can help explain these differences.