Navy personnel are comprised of active duty military members and civilian employees of the navy of a given nation. Active duty navy personnel include commissioned officers and enlisted members, with each group broken down into specific job categories, ranks, and pay grades. Civilian employees fill a wide range of administrative and support functions, such as human resources, equipment repair, and shipping and receiving.
A commissioned officer serves by direct commission from a sovereign government. An enlisted service member works under contract to the particular branch of service. Non-commissioned officers hold positions of authority within the enlisted ranks. Civilians work at the discretion of the service.
For both enlisted and commissioned navy personnel, each service member has a rank and corresponding pay grade that determines not only breadth of responsibility, but amount of pay and benefits, as well. The specific names of ranks vary from nation to nation. Using the United States (US) Navy as an example, there are nine enlisted pay grades and 10 commissioned pay grades.
An enlisted US Navy member at the lowest pay grade with two years of service or less, earns about $1,500 US Dollars (USD) each month. An enlisted member at the top enlisted pay grade with 20 years of service earns about $5,400 (USD) each month. For commissioned officers, an officer at the lowest pay grade earns about $3,500 (USD) per month. An admiral with four stars and 20 years of service earns more than $12,500 (USD) monthly. All active duty navy personnel receive benefits in addition to compensation, such as health care, housing, and uniform allowance.
In each type of designation, active duty and enlisted, personnel also have a specific job related to their area of service. For example, in the US Navy, there are 13 communities in which a military member can serve. These communities include surface combat, aviation, submarine, intelligence, and security.
Within each area of service, navy personnel are further broken down into specific jobs. Firemen on surface ships work with weapons systems. Boatswains work with maintenance of the ship. Pilots fly aircraft.
In modern navies, many support and administrative services are deemed non-essential and can be staffed by civilian employees. Civilian navy personnel work almost exclusively on land. The jobs can be clerical in such areas as human resources, payroll and accounting, and administrative support. Civilian jobs in the navy can also be highly technical, such as with computer support, cryptology, and equipment repair. Additionally, a wide range of blue-collar jobs are filled by civilian navy personnel, including jobs in shipping and receiving, and transportation.