Measuring Attrition Rates and Forecasting Attrition Volume


  1. Okazawa, S.
Corporate Authors
Defence R&D Canada - Centre for Operational Research and Analysis, Ottawa ON (CAN)
Attrition analysis plays an important role in sustainability management for the Canadian Forces. Measuring attrition rates is central to this analysis, both as a reported statistic and as a model to predict future attrition volume. However, the definitions and methods used in attrition analysis are not very consistent across sources of attrition reporting within the Canadian Forces. This paper presents the development of a sound mathematical foundation for attrition reporting and forecasting. Its purpose is to document a standardized methodology for attrition analysis which will serve as a reference for future work on the subject ensuring consistency in terminology and approach. As such, it is a technical paper targeted at the personnel analyst. To begin, the attrition rate is defined mathematically, and equations for calculating it based on historical data are derived. Equations for performing population forecasts are then developed. These basic methods are then expanded to the analysis of populations broken down by years of service, a property which is highly correlated with the attrition rate. Finally, these techniques are applied to the calculation of a population’s steady-state year-of-service distribution. This mathematical framework for attrition analysis will impact a number of relevant human resources initiatives including the Armed Forces Council retention strategy, the positioning of the Canadian Forces as an employer of choice, and improving consistency in attri

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Report Number
DRDC-CORA-TM-2007-02 — Technical Memorandum
Date of publication
01 Mar 2007
Number of Pages

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