Benefits of Being a Graduate Officer to Cease?

#1
I've searched this forum and used Google after hearing/reading rumours that the benefits of being a graduate officer in comparison to being a non-graduate officer (pay, quicker promotion etc.) were to stop. I was wondering if anybody might happen to know if there's any truth in these rumours?

The reason I ask is I'm 23.4 and hoping to potentially join the regular Army as an Officer in the future. I have recently become a Gunner in the T.A. in the meantime, as at the moment I fail to possess any of the necessary qualifications (long story cut short: I was home "educated"). I will be taking the GCSEs & A Levels that I need through an independant company at the end of this year/beginning of next and am due to start a Foundation Degree in September (entry gained through local college as a mature student).

Now, as much as I'm keen to do my FD (& then a final year to top it up to a full degree) I am also aware that by the time I would be likely to finish my studies I will be over 26 years old. This isn't a huge issue as I'm keen on joining the RMP. But, I do wonder if it might be worth me just getting my GCSEs and A Levels in order to apply sooner and have more choice if there aren't going to be any incentives for graduate cadets by the time I get there.

Apologies for any rambling - I can get a little carried away sometimes. Hopefully you get the jist though.
 
#2
I understand the benefits have already gone - no extra pay, no seniority, chances of getting senior rank based (rightly) on merit.

The Army has made being a graduate a penalty. You lose a potential three years or more of your life that you could be using to gain promotion, experience etc, and you're hobbled with a bloody great debt, which will only rise with the increase in tuition fees.

Uni has always (or should have always) been an investment - pay the money for the course, do the time, get an experience, but you come out of it with a higher qualification and in theory new skills and all that. In a time where graduate schemes are highly competative, offering distinct incentives to have at least a degree if not better, the Army's totaly removed the benefits to graduates.

And yet it still very firmly sights its recruitment of ossifers at graduates, still. Why? They apparently value graduates no more than non grads. It's daft. By all means ditch the benefits if they feel having a degree brings nothing to being an officer - maybe, certainly with some degrees, but it seems daft to still attempt to recruit graduates. How can they possibly hope to draw the best and brightest to the colours if they offer no decent incentive? Even the supermarkets offer very good graduate schemes.

I appreciate with the value of some degrees these days being fairly low and yes, some non grads are far better and worth more than a graduate, but that's only to be expected. Even highly selective schools have distinctly stupid students, and the lowliest state school could have one of the smartest minds around. But in general, universities remain a decent source of decent officer candidates, which the army tacitly acknowledges. And yet it makes being a graduate be a massive disadvantage to becoming an officer now.
 
#3
The value of the degree isn't now, it's a short while down the line when you need to find a civvy career. If you are absolutely convinced that you are going to serve out a full Regular Commission then fair enough, go now.

However as the already harsh competition to convert SSC-IRC-Reg C (if these terms are still correct) has just got harsher I think you'd have to be pretty confident of making a full career. Otherwise you could find yourself out again with just a year at RMAS & three years commissioned which whatever people on here living in cloud cuckoo land will try to persuade you does not amount to much at all in civvy street.
 
#4
Otherwise you could find yourself out again with just a year at RMAS & three years commissioned which whatever people on here living in cloud cuckoo land will try to persuade you does not amount to much at all in civvy street.
I'm amazed it's not more highly thought of. I mean, is there really career that even comes close to being as challenging and difficult than being an Army Officer? No civvy has to work in conditions even approaching what soldiers see as 'normal'. Lack of respect in the civvy world me thinks.
 

Caecilius

LE
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
#5
I'm amazed it's not more highly thought of. I mean, is there really career that even comes close to being as challenging and difficult than being an Army Officer? No civvy has to work in conditions even approaching what soldiers see as 'normal'. Lack of respect in the civvy world me thinks.
It provides you with few, if any skills that are if use to the business world. Sure, you've spent a tough three years getting wet and tired, but that doesn't mean nearly as much as a good degree.
 
#6
I'm amazed it's not more highly thought of. I mean, is there really career that even comes close to being as challenging and difficult than being an Army Officer? No civvy has to work in conditions even approaching what soldiers see as 'normal'. Lack of respect in the civvy world me thinks.
See endless threads on this very subject. A lot of Forces Leavers, especially Officers, are extremely arrogant about their value outside the mob. I'm afraid except in very specific specialities this opinion is woefully inadequate.

I recently posted the text of a newsletter from one of the better ex-Forces recruitment specialists. Aside from the spelling mistakes it had a great list of attributes of ex-Forces people. Sadly I could not say, having had a career both as an Officer & in civvy street, that the ex-Forces person would be any more or less skilled in the attributes mentioned.

One factor was that ex-Forces are used to being posted every two-three years and therefore are supposed to be effective in six weeks of being appointed to a new post and firing on all cylinders within six months. IMHO this is a bit slow for civvy street.

I'm afraid in many cases you can forget the somewhat vague "transferrable skills" from the mob. If an employer wants someone to have a skill it is likely to be highly specific & they will pay for someone to obtain it rather than trusting a well meaning amateur to pick it up because they've done something similar.

I've said it many times before, but I am strongly of the opinion that all a Short Service Commission does for a young person is put them three-four years behind their peers but with an over exaggerated idea of their worth & importance. Don't just ask me, ask The Duke & various others. The only dissenters seem to be people who are still in & just about to leave...
 
#7
I'm amazed it's not more highly thought of. I mean, is there really career that even comes close to being as challenging and difficult than being an Army Officer? No civvy has to work in conditions even approaching what soldiers see as 'normal'. Lack of respect in the civvy world me thinks.
God love you. I mean that; you remind me of the way I used to think, you really do. You will live the dream, but don't expect a leg up above your civvy peers at the end of it.

The job's not more highly thought of because the transferable skills are fairly negligible, and crucially are in no sense the exclusive preserve of Army Officers, which is what we often like to kid ourselves. I'd bet that any number of investment bankers/management consultants/corporate lawyers could give most blokes a run for their money in terms of operating under pressure, delivering to deadlines, coping with sleep deprivation etc. They just do it in a different atmosphere.

That, and the fact that the 'challenging and difficult' parts, are, by and large, restricted to a relatively small officer population. Pl Comd 4 RIFLES on HERRICK in 2009 is nails. Gopping waste of space ETS lumpy jumper is not; I heard one of them the other day explaining why her Corps (? Service/Branch?) had escaped annihilation under 2020 with, 'Can you imagine a civvy doing this job?'

F*cking YEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEES.
 
#8
Sad to say, but it's true. When I came out, there had been lots of adverts as to how employers regarded an Officer as the equivalent of a degree, but by the time I actually got into civvy street, they all said "no, we tried that route and you're all rubbish" (this last from a well-known high street clothing store chain). Harsh but there was no point in arguing. Back to the bottom of the heap. No-one was impressed at all, they all had a very biased inverted snobbery attitude or kept saying remarks like "you can't just give orders here, it's not like the Army". All half-truths at best, but they're the ones with the purse-strings.
 
#9
Duracell. End of the day if you got your GCSE's and A levels you can apply as long as your quals meet the job you are after. It all depends on how quickly you are wanting to starting the application process. Is your degree worth more to you to study for another 3 years then get your degree then go out a find a job relevant to what your degree is? Or is grabbing your gcse's & a-levels and getting your application in sooner rather then later? Your choice my friend, i know grads pick up Captain usually at their 3 year point and are on more money whilst up till that rank. However, should you decide to join as a Non-Grad, the currently climate shows your reach Captain within 5 Years of Service at this going rate. Whether that does change or not i think is still in the air. I am currently serving as a RMP Cpl, however going through the commission process to go to RMAS. Whatever you decide good luck! Dan
 
#10
I think the point, Joyce127, is that the accellerated promotion & better money for graduates has stopped...
 
#11
With LEs dropping like flies in the cuts the real question is who will do all the real work?

Since none LE officers rarely know their arses from their elbows it will be a most interesting few years (cue Benny Hill pursuit music in background).
 
#12
With LEs dropping like flies in the cuts the real question is who will do all the real work?

Since none LE officers rarely know their arses from their elbows it will be a most interesting few years (cue Benny Hill pursuit music in background).
Yes, makers of cartoon character socks and fancy polyester cummerbunds (sic) will be crying into their pints if LE numbers are reduced, and who will Subalterns ply with “Cheeky Vimtos” in the hope of a bunk up in the TV Room at Mess parties if the LEs’ daughters are not there :wink:
 

cpunk

LE
Moderator
#13
Interestingly, some consideration is currently being given to making direct entry commissioning 'graduate only', with the exception of serving soldiers.
 
#15
I'm amazed it's not more highly thought of. I mean, is there really career that even comes close to being as challenging and difficult than being an Army Officer? No civvy has to work in conditions even approaching what soldiers see as 'normal'. Lack of respect in the civvy world me thinks.
Or an inflated sense of the value that ex soldiers put on themselves. Not unusual in squaddies of all ranks.

In my 26 years in IT no-one has ever been particularly impressed by whether I could get an HF call through to Cyprus, dig a fire trench with 18" of overhead cover in the rain or navigate across Sennybridge in the dark or not.

I am lucky enough to work with peers who were both regular officers, SNCOs or just direct entrant Graduates to the job at 21. The commissioned service experience is not a disadvantage but I don't think it has ever been the deciding factor in getting anyone a job or promoting them. Our COO is an ex RLC Major and he keeps his service very close to his chest. The Delivery Exec that supplies my technical team is an ex WO2, his counterpart in the NE is an ex teacher. I have one ex RAF FO reporting in, her counterparts are all direct grads or time served

People don't tend to get on in business if they are not punctual, smart, confident and willing to fight through to hit deadlines. None of those qualities are exclusive to ex soldiers. The one thing I do think that the ex military bods do better on is presentation skills. The army obviously still spend more money on these kind of courses than the private sector
 
#16
Or an inflated sense of the value that ex soldiers put on themselves. Not unusual in squaddies of all ranks.

In my 26 years in IT no-one has ever been particularly impressed by whether I could get an HF call through to Cyprus, dig a fire trench with 18" of overhead cover in the rain or navigate across Sennybridge in the dark or not.

I am lucky enough to work with peers who were both regular officers, SNCOs or just direct entrant Graduates to the job at 21. The commissioned service experience is not a disadvantage but I don't think it has ever been the deciding factor in getting anyone a job or promoting them.
Is there not part of you that respects these people slightly less? :p
 
#18
Interestingly, some consideration is currently being given to making direct entry commissioning 'graduate only', with the exception of serving soldiers.
Not necessarily a bad idea, although there really should be some O-Type equivalent or faststream option for the rare few who really are outstanding.
 
#19
serve_to_lead201 said:
is there not a piece of you that respects these people slightly less?
No. Why on earth would I do that? Choosing to be an Officer is a laudable career choice that deserves respect certainly, but that does not make them any better than those that get straight into business. The people are no less motivated or any less intelligent. If anything they come in prepared to do the shit jobs like out of hours support, invoicing or programme office to learn the business before they start to manage people. Try getting an ex Lieutenant to process timesheets or set up time codes in SAP.

If anything I respect the teacher & WO2 most. The teacher was not happy in his old job, despite the perks, and binned it aged 45 to go into something entirely new. The WO has put himself through 2 OU Degrees since leaving school to get the position he now holds.

Our Chief Technologist left school aged 16, joined the DHSS as an admin assistant, passed all manner of tests including a Degree and worked his way up a new and developing industry to become an Enterprise Architect and a Fellow (our highest technical grade). That deserves respect.

I'm not sure spending 3 or 4 years as a Subaltern, perhaps realising you'll never get past Captain and opting to try your hand at something else is as significant an achievement.

I've nothing against ex regular forces, particularly those that have seen more operational experience than my generation, but they are genuinely no better or worse as a group than direct entrants.

One thing I have always done however is tried to get anyone with military service onto the interview shortlist if I have been involved with recruiting. As a result I've met some good people but I've also met some utter chimps, of all ranks.
 

Similar threads

New Posts

Latest Threads

Top