Analysing data from the DIW Berlin's Socio-Economic Panel Study (SOEP) shows that Abitur students and the unemployed are more likely than others to take part in military service or its community service equivalent. Abitur students should theoretically be more interested in avoiding military or community service, because their relatively high level of qualifications increases the chance of gaining a higher income and thus doing military service would lead to higher income losses. This hypothesis, however, cannot be confirmed by the empirical evidence.
For example, Abitur students born in the 1940s were less likely to do military service than people who left school with only GCSE equivalent qualifications ('mittlere Reife'). The DIW Berlin assumes that this is due to the increasing number of conscientious objectors, who are nearly always opt for community service. Abitur students form the majority these objectors. Another reason might be Abitur students are relatively easier to call up for military service, because they have just finished their A-level equivalent. Young people of 23 or 24 who have experienced being unemployed also have an above average representation in recruits for military service. This could be because they hope to improve their employability through doing military service. (See Weekly Report 19/2002).