Army struggle to recruit!! Is this a result of A2020 draw down back to UK??

#1
Well with the draw down of UK troops from Germany, Canada and the like who would want to join? I joined the Forces to travel the world not be commuting every day to work on the crappy road system in the UK!!!. A2020 has also added to the problem of recruiting as the reduction in the Force due to redundancies. Think personally with the move back of troops to the UK no Operations of high scale like Afghanistan and Iraq no current action to attract the youngsters. UK have to rely heavily on the Reserves to bolster troop numbers to deploy anywhere, was this ever going to work??

Pay freeze, Pension being messed with, not a secure job like it always has been......

UK Reserves do not receive the same treatment as say the US where there jobs are kept open for them whilst they deploy for training or indeed Operations. The money bonus which was offered during the transition to A2020 is now dried up who wants to join the reserves???
 
#2
UK Reserves do not receive the same treatment as say the US where there jobs are kept open for them whilst they deploy for training or indeed Operations.
US Reserves deploy on a regular basis. This is to be increased to 1 year attached to a regular "active" unit followed by 18 months at home. Some specialist role reservists have been deployed for 2 year stints.

The concept of "reserve" in the US is far different to the UK and reserve units are routinely called in to fill in gaps in deployed units for months at a time.

This is called "involuntary mobilization"..and as it suggests, you have no choice. The US Army's 2017 budget has been increased to allow this to happen more frequently under the "man-years" funding - 12304(b) to maintain a 100% manned operation capability.
 
#3
First and foremost, the pension scheme. There is no light at the end of the tunnel any more. Secondly, for the Reserves, the time frame to trade qualify is too long, voluntary mobilize Reserves for a year, for instance, and have them on a solid training/attachment year in order to progress if they want to.
 
#4
Well with the draw down of UK troops from Germany, Canada and the like who would want to join? I joined the Forces to travel the world not be commuting every day to work on the crappy road system in the UK!!!. A2020 has also added to the problem of recruiting as the reduction in the Force due to redundancies. Think personally with the move back of troops to the UK no Operations of high scale like Afghanistan and Iraq no current action to attract the youngsters. UK have to rely heavily on the Reserves to bolster troop numbers to deploy anywhere, was this ever going to work??

Pay freeze, Pension being messed with, not a secure job like it always has been......

UK Reserves do not receive the same treatment as say the US where there jobs are kept open for them whilst they deploy for training or indeed Operations. The money bonus which was offered during the transition to A2020 is now dried up who wants to join the reserves???
Lack of a world war, lack of a decent war, easier to see the world without signing up, the ability to live on the dole instead of having to sign up to get a job and a roof over your head

To be pedantic A2020 isn't about making the army smaller or coming out of Germany
World peace makes sitting in Germany unnecessary - 'rebasing' is the withdrawal
A2020 is a way of working out how to layout the numbers left after government cuts in numbers
The government says how much money and how many soldiers are allowed, the army works out what to do with them
 
#5
UK Reserves do not receive the same treatment as say the US where there jobs are kept open for them whilst they deploy for training or indeed Operations.
UK Reserves also have job protection
It doesn't necessarily mean an employer will like to have reservists who keep wanting extra time off to go on exercise, nor wait for the duration of a deployment
Easier when part of a big company than a small to medium business
 
#7
What is the thoughts on "Veterans against Terrorism" maybe there is a role in helping our home land security or police forces.

A2020 was the tool that guided "rebasing" as the shrinking of the force and the fact the Government was sick of paying money into Germany instead of our own country forced the hand for the withdraw from Germany. Pretty sad as now we are doing more and more training abroad with no permanent bases, so paying more money to rent to conduct live firing for dismounted soldiers and armour. The Cold War threat of Russia is again putting its head above the parapet can we as UK allow Russia to run through Europe with no Force against them?? In Germany at least we had 2 Armoured Bdes before this Government got rid of the Senior one 7 Armd Bde!!!
 
#8
It's not as though this hasn't been adressed on other threads on Arsse is it or am I suffering Deja Vu?
Precisely ... but I'll bite and that should condemn the thread.

In summary there are two schools of thought:
  1. It's all down to changing demographics, raised school leaving age, increased expectations and other options in a new age with social media increasing awareness of any issues.
  2. It's all down to continuing to treat soldiers like sh1t with social media making it impossible to hide such issues.
The truth is probably somewhere in-between with a downward spiral that started in the 80's that has now reached crisis point.

For officers it's down to the same factors compounded by a collapse of the traditional recruiting pool from public schools, dressed up as a deliberate broadening of the pool that hasn't happened, despite a 50% pay rise for non-grads at the junior level, and no real attempt to increase early commissioning from the ranks that hasn't changed in four decades and is less than it was a century ago.

Nothing to do with A2020 at all.
 
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#9
UK Reserves also have job protection
It doesn't necessarily mean an employer will like to have reservists who keep wanting extra time off to go on exercise, nor wait for the duration of a deployment
Easier when part of a big company than a small to medium business
If called out.
Voluntary Mobilisation is a tricky one, as the individual has to agree to be called out, which his employer may not look at too kindly should that come to tribunal.
Also the time lines for call out can cause problems if manpower requirements reduce in the time before deployments, as the reservist can't be "turned off" with out consequence either way
 
#10
Think personally with the move back of troops to the UK no Operations of high scale like Afghanistan and Iraq no current action to attract the youngsters.
A myth. Apart from in the very short term the stats show very clearly that this made / makes no difference at all.
UK have to rely heavily on the Reserves to bolster troop numbers to deploy anywhere, was this ever going to work??
No (and no).
UK Reserves do not receive the same treatment as say the US where there jobs are kept open for them whilst they deploy for training or indeed Operations.
Neither do they have the same commitment - unlike in the UK those in the US can't just decide to call it a day having taken the money once they see the writing on the wall (rather than in the mail) as they can in the UK, and many did.
Pretty sad as now we are doing more and more training abroad with no permanent bases, so paying more money to rent to conduct live firing for dismounted soldiers and armour.
No we're not. This is nonsense. Main live firing training is unchanged - if anything there's more available per soldier / unit at the same costs as there are less units competing for BATUS.
 

Sarastro

LE
Kit Reviewer
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#11
A myth. Apart from in the very short term the stats show very clearly that this made / makes no difference at all.
I know I'm going to regret this, but:

Which stats, where? How exactly are you drawing that conclusion?

I ask because it is of interest, and because I'm fairly sure that the only halfway reliable publicly available indicator of such things (AFCAS) avoids that question. If there is some other information out there, I'd like to see.
 
#12
I know I'm going to regret this, but:

Which stats, where? How exactly are you drawing that conclusion?

I ask because it is of interest, and because I'm fairly sure that the only halfway reliable publicly available indicator of such things (AFCAS) avoids that question. If there is some other information out there, I'd like to see.
Recruiting figures over the last two decades, shown in the monthly, quarterly and annual stats. All freely, easily and readily available and given as links not only by me but by many other posters.

AFCAS avoids the question, agreed, but if you need them to spoon feed you that badly I can understand why you'd regret asking the glaringly obvious. Look at the peaks and troughs, look at the dates, and try to see a pattern that matches ops' dates. It hardly requires the combined brains of the Int Corps.

I'm drawing the conclusion (as are others here) because there's no significant rise after the commencement of ops or fall after their ending, which it would be not unreasonable to expect if the myth were true.

The only alternative conclusion given those stats is that the onset / ending of ops attracts one group of people as much as it puts off another. but the net result is the same.
 
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Sarastro

LE
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
#13
Quite. Another alternative conclusion can be found here:

Ice Cream Consumption Linked to Shark Attacks

ACTION POINT -> Do you have a link to these recruiting figures? Or do you just mean the standard personnel numbers found here: UK armed forces monthly service personnel statistics: 2017 - GOV.UK

If it's the above, then fine. Not to pick a fight, but you absolutely cannot conclude anything that you suggest above from those figures, because apart from the huge correlation/causation error, they don't show any numbers for the recruiting pipeline (which afaik is only internal data, thus why I asked) nor gross signoff rates. In other words, those personnel figures only show the difference in recruitment/retention once already load-balanced by the system, which removes any fidelity to the data. If, for example, on 10 Sept 2001 the number of applications jumped x 4, but still the same number of people were accepted because the available PIDs recruited for had not changed, then you would see no change in those figures. To demonstrate what you are claiming, you either need to see the gross numbers for applications and signoffs, or have some form of opinion poll which indicates reasoning or intent for joining and leaving (therefore AFCAS).

Which is basically what I expected, but just thought I'd check. So, unless there are some other figures, not a myth, just inconclusive.

As an aside, I did get shown an internal presentation on the recruiting pipeline figures once many years ago, and they showed an increase in applications during the 2004-2008 period. At that point (2008), the start of the pipeline (gross number of applications) was surprisingly large, much larger than the number of people actually recruited. Officer pipeline was more of a pyramid than the soldier pipeline, but still with the soldiers there was a significant triangle going on. I understand the US saw something similar but much more marked after 2001. One of the hidden but interesting things about the difficulties in recruiting now is that - assuming other factors are broadly equal, like individual dropout and failure rates - either:
  1. A significant majority of that previous application pool were unsuitable for service (failed to meet the academic or medical requirements) and therefore the number of applications was never representative of number of potential recruits. This seems somewhat unlikely: the medical and academic requirements really aren't that stringent, either for soldiers or officers.
  2. There was a huge collapse in the number of applications from 2008-2014 ... given that both Afghanistan and Iraq had been running for a while in 2008, this is unlikely to be anti-war sentiment.
  3. There has been a massive and sudden increase in the national proportion of sickly and uneducated 18-29 year olds since 2008. Highly unlikely.
  4. Some mojo was being done with Commonwealth recruits for which the conditions have changed. This is possible, but doesn't appear to have been the case.
Whatever happened, the Army didn't just lose the ability to recruit 20k odd extra people: it either lost an application pool which was close to 5x larger (again, what I was shown) than the recruit places available, or it is losing so many people through retention failure that such an application pool isn't sufficient to sustain numbers, or a bit of both.

Either way, you get the sense that the scale of the fuckup is slightly larger than just Capita having a duff computer system.
 
#14
A very large proportion of army recruitment literature content in the old days used to push the 'live and work abroad' element. It was plainly seen by those who knew as being a substantial draw. Cyprus is probably about the only substantial attached overseas garrison posting left (or soon will be).

Short unattached training courses/exercises in unattractive areas such as BATUS or Nanyuki really cannot be sold in the same way. Admittedly, that has to be balanced with the fact that there is now no irksome 'march out' or family resettlement every couple of years.
 
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#16
Quite. Another alternative conclusion can be found here:

Ice Cream Consumption Linked to Shark Attacks

ACTION POINT -> Do you have a link to these recruiting figures? Or do you just mean the standard personnel numbers found here: UK armed forces monthly service personnel statistics: 2017 - GOV.UK

If it's the above, then fine. Not to pick a fight, but you absolutely cannot conclude anything that you suggest above from those figures, because apart from the huge correlation/causation error, they don't show any numbers for the recruiting pipeline (which afaik is only internal data, thus why I asked) nor gross signoff rates. In other words, those personnel figures only show the difference in recruitment/retention once already load-balanced by the system, which removes any fidelity to the data. If, for example, on 10 Sept 2001 the number of applications jumped x 4, but still the same number of people were accepted because the available PIDs recruited for had not changed, then you would see no change in those figures. To demonstrate what you are claiming, you either need to see the gross numbers for applications and signoffs, or have some form of opinion poll which indicates reasoning or intent for joining and leaving (therefore AFCAS).

Which is basically what I expected, but just thought I'd check. So, unless there are some other figures, not a myth, just inconclusive.
.
Yes, I meant those stats, and agreed, inconclusive if all recruit vacancies were filled. As they weren't, though, that's about as conclusive as it gets short of a referendum.

As an aside, I did get shown an internal presentation on the recruiting pipeline figures once many years ago, and they showed an increase in applications during the 2004-2008 period. At that point (2008), the start of the pipeline (gross number of applications) was surprisingly large, much larger than the number of people actually recruited. Officer pipeline was more of a pyramid than the soldier pipeline, but still with the soldiers there was a significant triangle going on. I understand the US saw something similar but much more marked after 2001. One of the hidden but interesting things about the difficulties in recruiting now is that - assuming other factors are broadly equal, like individual dropout and failure rates - either:
  1. A significant majority of that previous application pool were unsuitable for service (failed to meet the academic or medical requirements) and therefore the number of applications was never representative of number of potential recruits. This seems somewhat unlikely: the medical and academic requirements really aren't that stringent, either for soldiers or officers.
  2. There was a huge collapse in the number of applications from 2008-2014 ... given that both Afghanistan and Iraq had been running for a while in 2008, this is unlikely to be anti-war sentiment.
  3. There has been a massive and sudden increase in the national proportion of sickly and uneducated 18-29 year olds since 2008. Highly unlikely.
  4. Some mojo was being done with Commonwealth recruits for which the conditions have changed. This is possible, but doesn't appear to have been the case.
Whatever happened, the Army didn't just lose the ability to recruit 20k odd extra people: it either lost an application pool which was close to 5x larger (again, what I was shown) than the recruit places available, or it is losing so many people through retention failure that such an application pool isn't sufficient to sustain numbers, or a bit of both.

Either way, you get the sense that the scale of the fuckup is slightly larger than just Capita having a duff computer system.
Agreed entirely, but this has all been discussed in a lot more detail already in other threads and by some far more in the know than me. Last year, for example, it took some 80,000 initial applications to get some 7,000 actual recruits.

Of the 80,000 an unknown number were noted in the stats as probably having no intention of joining but due to the requirement for Jobseekers Allowance applicants to show they were actively looking for employment, and others (allegedly some 20,000) being Commonwealth applicants for the 200 residency exempt specialist vacancies who didn't meet the routine residency requirement. (Sorry, I can't give a link to the other thread on the phone but I'm sure it'll come up with a search for 'Commonwealth').
 
#17
In summary there are two schools of thought:
  1. It's all down to changing demographics, raised school leaving age, increased expectations and other options in a new age with social media increasing awareness of any issues.
  2. It's all down to continuing to treat soldiers like sh1t with social media making it impossible to hide such issues.
Nothing to do with A2020 at all.
John, a neat summary of multiple pages and threads! I too don’t believe that A2020 has anything to do with the problem.

It should, however, address a solution. A strategy for a future force structure that can’t be filled isn’t a strategy, it’s a fantasy.

The most obvious manifestation of this is the A2020 rebalance towards the Reserve which appears to have been a number picked out of the ether, a timeline that bore no relation to the scope of the task and no actual plan for delivery.
 
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#19
John, a neat summary of multiple pages and threads! I too don’t believe that A2020 has anything to do with the problem.

It should, however, address a solution. A strategy for a future force structure that can’t be filled isn’t a strategy, it’s a fantasy.

The most obvious manifestation of this is the A2020 rebalance towards the Reserve which appears to have been a number picked out of the ether, a timeline that bore no relation to the scope of the task and no actual plan for delivery.
I'm flattered. What appears on the cards from CGS (he said so!)is a major d1cking of the reg res who have no option unlike the 'res res' who can do what they like. Hardly added incentive to join if rather than four years you're facing a near lifetime commitment even when you think you've left.
 
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