Retention is a crucial issue in the Armed Forces, especially in the all-volunteer Royal Navy. This is mainly due to a number of organisational challenges and changes in operational requirements and priorities. Naval manpower planners need to consider appropriate measures to improve retention in the service. The evidence gathered from the empirical investigation shows that external (pull) factors exert a significant effect on the early exit/quit rates from the Royal Navy. Key economic factors such as pay and employment opportunities in the civilian employment markets play an important role in the decisions that individual ratings make with regard to remaining in naval employment or leaving altogether. In particular, it was found that quit rates from the Navy are negatively associated with the claimant count (unemployment) rate (i.e. as the unemployment rate in the civilian economy increases, the early exit rate from the Navy decreases), whilst the overall increase in civilian wages bears a positive relationship on quitting behaviour. The analysis provides further evidence to support the need for policies that are tailor-made to cater for different ratings' specialisations within the Royal Navy.