World Facts

20 Countries Where The Military Is A Major Employer

In North Korea, 1 worker in every 11 is employed as part of its armed forces personnel.

A military is an official national entity that may be authorized to use deadly force and, in most places, they defend and represent their nation in times of conflict and unrest. In many countries around the world, being employed in the military is voluntary and an honor, though in many other nations around the world such service is compulsory. The reasons for these military employment tactics vary from country to country, and they depend on various reasons such as population size and political stability, which lead to different proportions of the labor force being a part of the military.

Reasons Why Countries Have Large Militaries Relative to their Labor Forces

Internal Instability

A countries political and national stability plays a massive role in the size of a countries military. For example, North Korea is a country where there is large level of instability arising from international pressure as well as domestic problems such as poverty. As a result, it is understood that a large military is needed to prevent riots and political unrest from occurring.

Civilian Unemployment

Building from that, certain countries also have a large military since it is an enviable job. In countries such as Eritrea and Djibouti, there is a lack of industry which leads to a large number of the citizens unemployed. This means that citizens are very keen to join the nations armed forces in order to get food, shelter and clothing. These countries generally need a large military as well since lack of industry leads to unhappy citizens which often creates problems such as riots and revolutions which the military stops. Therefore, a large proportion of the workforce ends up in the military.

Regional Conflicts

Another major reason for a large military is related to whether a country is in a state of war. Countries such as Sri Lanka and Syria have conflict in their nation and problems such as terrorism are major issues. As a result, a large military is present in order to deal with such issues and this means the proportion of the workforce employed by the military is big.

Small Populations, Service Quotas, and Necessity

In addition to these reason, another major reason for a large proportion of a nation’s workforce being employed by the military is a result of population. The majority of nations around the world believe that their country needs a military of a minimum size. In countries with low populations this minimum size is only achieved if a large proportion of their population is employed by the military. In these nations, compulsory service to the military is often the case. Examples of this policy is seen in nations such as Singapore.

Impacts of Having a Large Proportion of the Population Employed by the Military

Having a large military can impact a nation’s economy significantly because many areas such as research and development are neglected. This is clearly shown in many countries where the military makes up a large proportion of the population. Going forward, this needs to be addressed by many of these nations since a large military results in many resources going toward this cause rather than other causes that can help develop the country’s economy in more productive ways. That being said, it is unlikely this will happen considering the current status of these nations and things will most likely remain as they are.

20 Countries Where The Military Makes Up The Largest Shares Of The Labor Force

RankCountry % of Workforce Employed In Armed Forces
1North Korea 9.0%
2Eritrea 8.1%
3Jordan 6.5%
4Israel 4.9%
5Lebanon 4.8%
6Montenegro 4.8%
7Singapore 4.7%
8Syria 4.6%
9Brunei 4.5%
10Djibouti 4.2%
11Laos 3.8%
12Afghanistan 3.7%
13Belarus 3.5%
14Armenia 3.1%
15Greece 3.0%
16Egypt 2.8%
17Sri Lanka 2.6%
18Bahrain 2.6%
19Algeria 2.6%
20South Korea 2.4%

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