Interesting article about recruiting problems


What would the shortfall be without the cutbacks?

Army under siege from a fall in recruitment


THE British Army is facing a future in which it will struggle to achieve full strength for years to come, the senior officer in charge of recruitment has admitted.

A decline in overt patriotism, a reluctance to accept orders or face physical hardship and an increase in the number of young people staying on in education are blamed for a slump in recruitment which has seen the army fall about 1,200 short of its target for the second year running.
In the Annual ATRA report 2004/2005 it states that

That the impact of the reduced number of recruits entering the Army in 2004/05 will be seen in the training organisation is the coming year, and will wash through to the Field Arm as a small but noticeable 'Black Hole' There are a number of factors that contribute to the difficult recruiting environmet, equally there are a number of whole Army things that need to be done to hieghten public awarenes, bolster reputation and public confidence and persuade young people and their parents and guardians that the Army should be an employment of choice. In the coming year the Army faces a demanding recuriting target if the 'Black Hole' is not to develop into something rather more substantial with significant and long term effects on the Arnmy's manning profile. (Major General AJN Graham CBE)

It also goes on to say that 2004/05 was a difficult year for Army Recruiting with enlistments constrained in the early part of the year for financial reasons. An adverse news climate also contributed to Officer and Soldier Recruiting being below target with 845 passes at RCB against the target of 903 and 10,395 soldier enlistments against a target of 11,592

17,485 potential recruits were assessed at the RSCs in 23004/05 almost 6,000 fewer that the previous year and 11,000 fewer than in 2002/03
Is this why most of the Highlanders and Black Watch come from Fiji rather than Fife?


No. In Fife, Cowdenbeath is affectionately known as Fiji........and Falkirk as 'Mexico City' on account of the snazzy headgear and droopy 'taches sported by the inhabitants.
Now I know why Tones New Model Army where recruiting in Manchester this weekend.
However I do think that if a credible threat to UK exsisted yjere would be no shortage of men willing to join up and do their bit.
That is as opposed to Tone's Mancunian bit.
Fascinating to learn that there has been a shortfall in the numbers passing through the RCB, as the ATRA told me that there would be no vacancies on any Commissioning Course until May 2006.
Always confusing, tried to join the RE at the local recruiting office in 1990 in the middle of a big recruiting drive and was told there was no vacancies??, Did I want to consider the infantry, wish I bloody well had now!! 8O
So why did they put a moritorium on recruitment to the scottish battalions???

As far as i was aware, regiments like the Blackwatch were stopped from recruiting soldiers.

A selfish question relating to this thread - is there any point in my writing to someone in the Recruiting Group or even the MOD putting the case for my being allowed go forward (recently turned 30) to the RMAS? Briefly, I passed the RCB in November 2003 but injured my knee shortly before starting in May 2004 and have been told ever since that there are no vacancies, and they are booked solid.
I would suggest you think long and hard before taking a 30 year old body to RMAS that already has a knee injury. I know you think it's fixed but it probably isn't 100% and the other one is just as likely to go too. If you survive the rigours of RMAS then you'll be a 30-32 year old platoon / troop commander, a 40+ year old sub unit comd... All your peers will be some 10 years younger than you. You will always be different in an organisation that likes people to be roughly the same.

I am afraid that this is a young man's game when you start at the bottom of the ladder. Recruiting Group may well be doing you a favour.
Von-Ryan said:
You will always be different in an organisation that likes people to be roughly the same.

I am afraid that this is a young man's game when you start at the bottom of the ladder. Recruiting Group may well be doing you a favour.
Injury aside, is age and fitting a 'template' really more important than suitability, enthusiasm and commitment when we are constantly being told that the army cannot find enough suitable recruits at all levels? I assume that the original poster was looking at this as a career rather than something to do until a better business oportunity comes along.

Don't misunderstand me. I didn't mention templates, the Army is a "broad Church", but it still has a fairly narrow range of personalities compared to the whole of society. We are all "like minded", "activist/pragmatist" types, motivated, positive can do etc. My point is that enthusiasm and commitment are great and absolutely necessary but you need a fit body to carry those attitudes around in. You can be as positive as you like but the body has to be fit enough to cope and it does not get any easier as you get older. If you join late then you will always be behind the curve and having to work harder to catch up. If you then find that you are not competitive against your peers by the time you make senior Capt then you are looking at going back to 2 UK Civ Div - but you're now knocking on 40. I'm not giving personal advice here - I don't know our man here at all - this is a general point. If it doesn't apply then great - crack on.
Thanks chaps. Yes, I had the whole 'your age will determine your career' talk with a number of serving officers and others in the know, and I agree with their thinking, despite the fact that it has up to now effectively prevented me from going forward. I would be prepared to accept the career disadvantages of being allowed in 'at my age', and would rather have a relatively short Army career than none at all.

Turret_Monster said:
I assume that the original poster was looking at this as a career rather than something to do until a better business oportunity comes along.
Absolutely. If possible, I would want to be in for the long haul.

Perhaps I should explain my particular case, or better still refer ye to the following thread I started:

and also to an edited message I PM'd someone here:

"I received a pile of replies to the letters I wrote to various regiments in late December [2004]. Most of them expressed regret at not being able to help me, primarily because of the demand for the few places they have. However, the Reg. Sec. of the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards replied [in January 2005] to the effect that they would like to talk to me if the ATRA gave me the green light. Unfortunately, this proved not to be the case. I even wrote directly to the Adjutant General, but the reply I received - not that long ago [June 2005] - pointed out that there would be no vacancies at the RMAS until May 2006; ironically, and frustratingly, I was told 'no places until May 2005' last year [when I appealed directly to the RMAS]- I believe that there was no will to give me another chance, and I don't blame them; in the current recruiting climate, with younger fellows coming through, why make an exception for me?"

From the time I didn't start the Commissioning Course in May '04 right up until July of this year I received cartloads of encouragement - I know, encouragement is 'cheap to give but harder to deliver upon' - but the Army is not in the habit of doing favours, so I took this as a good sign. I gave what I considered to be a pretty good performance at the RCB (perhaps significantly, I was notified of my pass minutes after leaving the RCB itself) and my physical fitness was favourably commented upon at interview. Naturally, and despite my eagerness to go to the RMAS, if I were even now granted the chance, I would only do so if I felt certain that I was physically up to it - quite frankly, if I thought otherwise, I wouldn't waste my time and theirs. I had six months of physio and have taken steps in my training to not incur such an injury again. I know that enthusiasm is simply not enough at the RMAS - I have that in abundance, but there's no arguing against a knee injury.

It was pointed out to me that the reason I was not being allowed go forward was more to do with the demand for places than my age. Therefore - and I know it's a loaded question - do ye think it might be in my interest to write to Recruiting Group and/or the MOD? This will sound plaintive, but if there's a shortage shouldn't someone 'like me', once we prove up to the training, be snapped up?
I don't see there problem at all. So many politicians, businessmen warmly support the war. They could send their children to Iraqi desert (or go there themselves).

Btw, do you know name of even one politician whose children served in Iraq?
I see where you're coming from KGB_r old man, but the question is largely answered by the fact that the offspring of politicians rarely if ever tend to have any interest in or time for a military career (thankfully I fall outside this category).
The onr thing about all of these shortfalls and that’s across the Army not specific to trade, Regiment or Rank , is the fact that in the last 3 years this type of Service “black hole” has been widely reported by the Navy.

Their own journal a few months ago had an in depth article with easy to understand graphs and number showing that they are technically Fcuked as they have this massive gap between cabin boy and PO.

Don’t our Staff officer types talk to their Staff Officer (or whatever) in the mess over a Gin about this type of thing ?
I can't help thinking that more youngsters might be tempted to look at the Army if the recruiting offices were in places where they like to spend their time, eg in shopping malls. Not in festering back streets, closed on saturdays, like most recruiting offices seem to be nowadays. Just a thought, but one that does not attempt to address the fundamental question of why the kids of today don't want to join up at all.
Gallowglass - an interesting thread. There are 2 separate issues here: medical/physical fitness and age. Assuming your knee is healed up, I don't think being 30 is too old for any military role. If you lose your struggle with officialdom in the Regular Army on that ground, the TA is an option, being slightly less dogmatic over age. Either way you'll probably end up in the same place doing the same job.

This whole age issue, with its arbitrary, ever-shifting boundaries, is a farce. The maturity and insight of older officers wouldn't go amiss in the areas in which the Army now operates, fraught with problems of language, culture and etiquette. Reading your posts, I'd feel more comfortable with someone like you in a position of command than the average college/university leaver. It's hard to believe that the "powers that be" don't have the same attitude.

I hope you succeed, both for your benefit, that of people like you and for the Army as a whole.

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