Ageism and the Forces

Discussion in 'Army Pay, Claims & JPA' started by Ancient_Hush_Puppy, Apr 18, 2006.

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  1. How can the the Army (plus Navy, Air Forces) justify 22 year career contracts for enlisted ranks in this day and age? On final interview with my CO I raised this point and received the response, " RSM, the Roman Army had 22 year careers for their soldiers!" Since discharge I've been resident in Australia where all soldiers and officers have a career until age 55. Additionally there's no manning control points and its not uncommon to see 50 year old corporals. Presently the Australian Government has the upper age limit under review and it's likely to be pushed out to age 65 for all ranks. Similarly I notice from a US Military website that the US Army has recently increased its maximum age limit for active service to age 62.

    I see that in recent time the Army has been tinkering at the edges with this issue and for TA officers (who are not pensionable) the upper age limit is now age 60 and that AGC (SPS) soldiers have careers to age 55

    This issue has been raised before I know but would it be beyond the capability of the Army Personnel Centre to manage Regular Army careers to age 55 or ideally 60 for all ranks?

    Ancient Hush Puppy
  2. Your not 35's ex-RSM, are you?
  3. These matters are being looked into and in some respect being addressed in some areas of the Armed Forces. Although MCP is still on the books, it is however never used to discharge or encourage soldiers to change their contracts at 9 and 11 year points.(APC Glasgow felt the heat on that one) MCP was inserted in QR late 50s to cope with National Service numbers and after the late 60s early 70s hardly ever used. Then came Options for Change huge redundancies that cost MOD a packet. 92-93 MCP was re ignited on the basis that it would stem the numbers without the need for redundancy money and stem the number of soldiers reaching 22 yr. immediate pension point, it was also used to stem the number of MD cases.
  4. I haved always thought that discharging bloody good blokes at the 22 year point was mental. As I have got older my views have not changed. What we must be careful of is the balance between valuable old blood and the dynamism of new blood - as clearly in a constrained organisation we need to ensure career progression. 50 year old Cpls can be excellent, but not leading rifle sections!
  5. There's plenty scope for over 40s in the Services but as Outstanding says, not as Inf Section Commanders. I do feel though that previous performance should be an issue when considering extending a soldiers contract. There are plenty of wasters out there on current contracts. They'll still be wasters but on extended contracts. There will also be case of one or two pulling their socks up in their last 2 - 3 years of service when faced with the pending reality of civvi street, so by 'previous performance', all of a soldiers ACRs should be looked at, not just the last 2 to 3 years worth. I'm sure that the MoD are looking at this matter, but at the same time whether they admit it or not (and that goes for the propaganda mechants who side with them on this site), they are losing blokes under 40 to other employment. Recruiting isn't to hot either. Age doesn't appear to be a problem with our crab air brethern. As long as you are making the grade, you can carry on.

    It's cheaper for the MoD though to get rid of you at the end of your 22yrs, particularly under the new pension scheme.

    Then again, you have to ask yourself, having put up with it for 22yrs (and we all get fed up with it nearer the end), do you really want to be doing the same thing until you are 55yrs old? I did 22 and I'm out now and to be honest I am glad that I am. Things ain't to hot on the job front at the minute, but even that wouldn't chase me back.

    Would you really be happy as a 55yr old Cpl though?
  6. Never heard of 35........ As for being a 55 year old corporal well no perhaps I wouldn't be happy with that but I'm sure there would be some around who would be. My point is that the Australians have managed soldier careers for many years and don't see it as being an issue.

    My last operational tour was in Macedonia in '99. While there I served alongside mobilised TA and RAF types who were well into their 50's and coping with the demands of overseas campaign service. My team were accommodated in a Dutch Army camp where again there were soldiers and officers aged over 50. My career came up against the buffers of the 22 year career and I left theatre to begin my last 6 months in the UK. At present I know that some trade groups in the Australian Defence Force are deemed critical which allow extraordinary measures to be taken including overseas recruitment (Brits, Kiwis and Canucks preferred). I know of more than one UK Army WO who has completed his Regular Army 22 year pensionable contract before taking the Oath in Australia House in The Strand and stepping on a plane Down Under where they've started an initial 4 year contract with the ADF in the rank of Sergeant liable for overseas operational tours in Iraq and Afghanistan for which they'd be considered too old for the British Regular Forces - but not perhaps with the TA.

    A few years ago an ETS Major (can't recall his name now) raised this issue of ageism - along with other topics - in an essay he wrote for the Fabian Society - Arms and the Man?. He got into some hot water resulting in him leaving the Army prematurely and I believe is now a Scottish MP.

    The British Army's officer corps stock response to this question is something along the lines of, There's no place in combat for someone over the age of 40. Clearly that is shown to be rot when we serve alongside our major allies in NATO: US, Canadians, Germans, Dutch etc plus other first division armies who continue to employ soldiers into their 50s.

    In short I don't believe that regular army soldier careers are being managed on a level playing field

    Nuff said.[align=right]
  7. Eric Joyce MP. MP for Falkirk. Also PPS for the Rt Hon Margaret Hodge MBE, Minister of State, Department for Work and Pensions. That came from the first Google entry and I didn't check it!

    I remember the incident but not the content of the paper. I note that his truncated military career appears not to have caused him too much of a problem since!

    The much larger Army pre-Options for Change was able to employ a large number of junior ranks in their 30s. It was not unusual to meet Bdrs and Cpls in their mid to late 30s, who were perfectly happy doing a responsible G1/G4 job in their regiment. But all that went with Options, and I think we are much the poorer for it. They brought a large amount of knowledge and stability to both the Cpls' and Sgts' Messes.

    However, in a much smaller Army, the promotion roll will be held up by the man at the top who is 50+. Please go back to the RAF and look at the ages of the J/Ts and Cpls. I know guys holding those ranks who would be SNCOs in the Army, but their promotion is blocked by the old guys above them! Whatever you say about the Army system, it works because it delivers high quality SNCOs and WOs to the Field Force in their mid to late 30s. They then retire, leaving slots that will be filled by the guys behind them. Swings and roundabouts!

  8. I know I'm going to regret this but
  9. The problem with promotion bottlenecks and war is a young mans game etc could be solved quite easily.

    At your 22 year point if you are deemed good enough* you carry on serving in your present rank but in an admin only role perhaps.

    Pay would be increased each year at the same rate as the rest of the Army but promotion would be closed and you would not be on the same roster as the rest of the "normal" army.

    This would free up a lot of young guys for the Front line first policy as all the office jobs could be done by these old and bold.

    *Not sure how or who would decide this but CRs/CO recommondation perhaps.
  10. The Employment Equality (Age) Regulations 2006 come into force 1st October 2006 however the armed forces are typically exempt :(

    I wonder how they are going to get round the fact most capbadges recruit up to 26 therefore someone aged 46-47 is considered capable of "going to war" but someone aged 40 isn't because they have done 22 years :?: :?:

  11. I'm not sure if there are any 55 yr old Cpls in the RAF (P) or indeed any part of the RAF. I am led to believe that you have to hit certain ranks by determined points time wise in your career to be considered for continual service.

    The same old arguments come up time after time with this matter and the 'war is a young mans game' bit is always thrown in. What about RLC trades? AGC trades?, AAC trades?, RAMC trades?, REME trades?, RE trades? and R SIGNALS trades? I'm sure you could find more if you tried. The 'war is a young mans thing' argument doesn't hold water with trades. It does in PARA, Inf, RAC but I cannot see why a chef would have to be worried about age, nor why a Tech or pilot would have to worry? RAF pilots fly until they reach the rank at which desk work beckons, so why can't an AAC pilot?

    What about instructor roles? Why waste quality experience by allowing tradesmen to leave? Given the frequency of 'questionable' incidents at ITCs etc, why not employ a more mature individual as an Instructor, particularly one who is a SNCO or WO? If he passes his CFT and and gets green on his APFA, he's fit enough for it. I think that you would have a better all round Instructor and the younger JNCO instructor would be back in his Bn doing the job he joined up for.

    I still wouldn't fancy being a 55yr old Cpl. I don't care who's Army it is in. Having been a WO, it would f*cking kill me to revert that far back.

    I don't know why I'm even posting here. I had enough first time round.
  12. The problem is not that you would be happy to be a 55 year old Cpl but that you at 55 would be filling up a slot on the Unit's establishment that would mean a thrusting young 21 yr old LCpl, with the potential to be a WO in time, couldn't be promoted because there are no slots for them.

    We are unfortunately in an Army that is severaly restricted in it's size (thanks to our esteemed chancellor...) and the 22 yr old age limit is a tried and trusted means of ensuring there is the right throughput of the right people.

    I have no doubt whatsoever that there are a significant number of very capable people who we turf out at 40ish but would we be happy to keep them in at the expense of the younger members of the Regt?
  13. Thousands were called up to serve, from 18 to 41 years of age in WW2. Many of those 41 years old served 3 or more years and many in the front line.

    Others lied about their age (young and old) and went on to serve and produce the goods.

    Nothing new at all and most of our European mates in Arms can and do serve until 50 plus.

    Even the USA now has had to extend the maximum age for enlistment at 39 - This is to ensure than anyone who enlists on active duty can be eligible for retirement (20 years of service) at the mandatory age of 55 (60 in some cases).

    So the USA will be having a few 59 year old SSG,SGT,CPL et al in 2026.
  14. Then put the guys serving beyond 22 years on a seperate promotion roster then. Or as I said above no more promotion after your 22 year point. Problem solved.
  15. So, you'll end up with a shed load of SNCOs and WO2s getting paid a lot of money for doing less than their 'active' counterpart? Waste of money. Why get all complicated about promotion boards? Give a soldier the opportunity to serve until 55 and slow the promotion down to meet the role. You wouldn't get promoted so quickly in a civvy organisation and it has worked for the RAF for years. If you are making the grade, you'll get the next rank and get an extended contract. If not, tara.

    That's one of the problems with the Army, we've become accustomed to fast promotions and some of us see them as a right. The RAF argument is that they gain more experience by staying in one rank longer. It's also good for family stability, kids schooling etc.

    I'm not saying this is the definitive solution, but complicated promotion solutions would make the situation worse. You've got to remember that these people have to be paid and if you have a 'collection' of SNCOs and WOs hanging round at the top end, albeit it seperate from the mainstream, that's a lot of wages. You could have 2 LCpls for a CSgt. They're younger and will put up with more (the older bloke having become more cynical over the years).