Can Diversity Management Improve Job Satisfaction for Military Veterans in the Federal Government?

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On November 9, 2009, Executive Order 13518 established the Veterans Employment Initiative and invigorated veteran hiring within the federal government. By fiscal year 2016, 635,266 veterans accounted for 31% of the federal workforce, an increase of over 5% in 7 years. To account for this growing employee demographic, the Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey began tracking veteran status in 2012 and analysis of these data show that veterans are more likely to express turnover intention than nonveterans. This raises a troubling question: Is the policy objective of the Veterans Hiring Initiative achieved if these veterans are more likely to turnover than nonveterans? This article explores whether diversity management mitigates lower job satisfaction levels among military veterans working for the federal government and whether veterans might be considered a stand-alone demographic in diversity scholarship. This study finds that perceptions of fair and effective diversity management are associated with higher job satisfaction among veteran employees, but slightly less so than among nonveterans. The results demonstrate that veterans are a unique employee demographic by showing statistically significant differences in job satisfaction between veterans and nonveterans while controlling for other demographics. Overall, this article contributes to public management research by highlighting military veteran employees and offering insight into an understudied employee population accounting for approximately 31% of the federal workforce.