Million Dollar ROI!


New USAF study says EQ-i will save them millions

It takes some pretty specialized training to become a Pararescue Jumper. For the United States Air Force (USAF), training potential grads is a lengthy and expensive process. In 2009, each pararescue trainee spent 21 months in training focused on airborne skills, combat diving, underwater egress, and in paramedic and apprenticeship programs. When you factor in all the flight time and specialized equipment, the price tag checked in at $250K per grad. So it’s no wonder the USAF began looking into ways to increase training efficiency. Aware of a successful emotional intelligence-based employment screening and training program used with their recruiters, the USAF decided to partner once again with MHS to determine if they could achieve more cost savings. 

Why it was worth a look

Back in 1995, USAF recruiters were suffering from high rates of first-year turnover. In their efforts to increase recruiter retention, the USAF used MHS’s EQ-i assessment of emotional intelligence to study the differences between successful and unsuccessful recruiters. Using their findings from the study, the USAF developed a pre-employment screening system that led to a 92% reduction in first-year turnover and resulted in $2.7-million in training cost savings in the first year alone. A report to a congressional sub-committee stated that Air Force recruiters are twice as productive as recruiters in other branches of the armed forces. (Gourville, 2000; Handley, 1997).

Encouraged by the EQ-i’s ability to predict successful recruiters, the USAF and MHS teamed up to examine whether emotional intelligence testing could improve selection and development for two other high-cost-training jobs: Pararesuce Jumper (PJ) and Explosive Ordance Disposal (EOD).

Accurate EI testing = Better selection + cost reductions

In 2009, the USAF assessed their Pararescue division using the EQ-i assessment.  The EQ-i is a standardized test that measures how an individual rates him- or herself across 15 emotional and social factors. Five factors were linked to successful completion of the PJ program: Flexibility, Optimism, Self-Regard, Happiness, and Reality Testing.

Figure 1:  Better Recruits in the USAF

Figure 1:  Better Recruits in the USAF

Source:  MHS

In fact, trainees who scored higher in these areas were two to three times more likely to successfully complete the PJ program. This powerful information will be used by the Air Force to offer guidance to trainees regarding their potential for successful completion of the program.

By using the MHS EI-based model, the USAF predicts a 72–74% potential increase in training efficiency. The Air Force estimates the potential savings/cost avoidance of trainees with the requisite EQ-i skills entering the Pararescue training to be approximately $19 million per year. A preliminary study of EOD trainees is showing a different skill profile that could yield cost savings in the millions.  

If you would like information about how MHS can help you achieve bottom-line results through the EQ-i assessment, please call 1-800-456-3003 or email

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