Recruiting Generation Y


Recently at my unit we had a conference looking at initiatives for our recruiting now and into the future particularly taking into account Gen Y and how to appeal to modern educated young soldiers.
My unit are specialists and we only recruit from serving members who come across to us from other trades. We have to attract them away from other options and get them to us
We discussed having a promo video professionally made (but weren't sure whether to have action footage with AC/DC soundtrack, or Candid interviews with wives and members telling how good life is with us) , recruiting tours to other units at home and on operations, inviting whole platoons to visit and train with us for a week at a time at our base, sending our NCOs out to other units to help train them for a short period, employing a fulltime ex member as a recruiting manager, employing a civilian marketing professional, making an official unclass video and posting it on You tube, having an unclass Facebook page or website with info about how to apply to join our unit, inviting potential candidates on a two week course or camp to give them some training to help them be successful when they come to us, asking the newest members of our unit to each nominate 5 mates who they think would have potential to come to us and then sending those blokes an invite. We even looked at posting an ad in UK, US, Canadian and NZ military papers and inviting them to try out for us.
We don't actually have a problem with our recruiting currently but it is good business sense to investigate some initiatives for the future.
Are there any other ideas out there that British units have tried or considered? and what is the feeling out there in UK about 'Generation Y'as opposed to the soldier of 10-20 years ago?


HEy, good idea I would go with the action footage thingy. Good idea advertising in the Commonwealth.To add to Aus, Nz etc you should advertise in South Africa, there are tons of okes like me who really want to join the British army but dont know how to go about it.

Generation Y? Text them... :wink:


Hah! ha...Quite frankly I am not really sure exactly what Gen X and Y mean and they strike me as just Americanisms for young people in society.
Will we go back to A after Z??
The future planning recruiters and Boffins seem to think that we need to rethink and modernise recruiting in order to attract these types. Apparently, they are supposed to be smarter and are more questioning about everything.
Are they as physically tough? Who Knows? The advent of computers may have created a different potential recruit to the recruit of 20 years agoThen again, these days a soldier needs to be a lot more technically savvy to operate all the modern hi tech kit.
I am unsure about exactly what you are angling for...

Do you want to recruit highly intelligent, well qualified individuals into your unit from Phase 1 (for arguments sake), or just increase the numbers you get now from other arms?

Surely trying to attract "Gen Y", if that means well educated, bright young things, is a no hoper - how many well educated people do you think come through Phase 1? and by well educated I mean 9 GCSEs C and above? Those people generally (with a few exceptions) get filtered out at the recruiting phase, encouraged to get A-levels and maybe go Officer. OR they do the BARB test and get a really high GTI and go to Int Corps.

It would seem that actively trying to recruit high calibre individuals into the Army, rather than the perceived "mongs" (and I don't think that Phase 1 Recruits are mongs) we get in wont work - they will seek a better paid civvi job.

Or maybe I haven't got a handle on what you're asking (I'm only a thickie Graduate).


We recruit both ORs and Officers from parent units. The OR's having served 3-5 and sometimes more in their original units. The OR's coming over to us these days have been identified as generally having higher education these days and most have finished High school and a few with some university study. The education gap between OR's and Officers has certainly closed significantly. The soldiers of today are computer savvy, are more enquiring and world wise than those of 15-20 years ago.
The pay in the Aussie army is not too bad, depending on trade and when we deploy we get (in Afghanistan) $200 a day extra and all pay is tax free. The economic downturn is helping recruiting too. So an army career as an OR is not reserved for 'Mongs', as you put it.
It has been identified in my unit that in future (long term) we may need to be more progessive in the way we recruit these soldiers to come across to us rather than them pursuing other options in the defence force.
I was just throwing it out there to the UK blokes to see if they were addressing a similar issue and if so if they had any other approaches.
I disagree that intelligent ORs tend to become officers or go to intelligence. I'm not saying that this doesn't occur, but in my previous unit, which was an infantry battalion, there were 3 OR's including myself in my platoon who had degrees and not one of us wanted to become an Officer. I'm a SNCO.
I'm sorry, I seem to have missed something on this thread

I'm about to finish an OU degree, am a Cpl, early 20's and am looking for a new change of career (but not bloody commission as I keep getting asked), exactly what unit are you and what are you looking for? And for the record (from Wiki: 1977-2000) I am apparently a generation Y type person.


An Australian infantry Regiment. We recruit infantry OR's and Officers and also specialist support staff.
Sign me up!!! My missus and I plan on applying to the Oz Army once I get my Sgt, I bet you're going to say that's the minimum requirement (?)


If you look in the Australian section of this forum there are a lot of posts about transferring to the Australian army. They'll have the details on how to apply etc.
We have quite a few at work. Most do what is called a lateral transfer.
They basically get sponsored by the army to emigrate to Australia, join the army and become a dual citizen.
I think they lose a little seniority and they have a few issues with mapping their qualifications to the Aussie system. Nothing much though. it doesn't seem to take long. I met a bloke recently who was ex Green jackets and came across and kept his rank of Sgt.
I don't think you need to be a Sgt minimum. Check out the Australian section.
Already onto that one
With regards to your recruiting people from other Regiments, I, as a Y generation person, honestly think that a couple of enthusiastic, talented speakers can influence others more than expensive and hi tech presentations.

In Germany we had people come around asking for volunteers for special duties, many of the young lads turned up and the 2 blokes giving the presentation did a great job trying to dissuade the participants by being blunt and honest, they still had a decent amount of names by the end of it.

I think Y generation lads have a decent amount of common sense thanks to a huge variety of media, they are able to think for themselves and process information accordingly, there are question marks about fitness, but this is something that can be worked on. The 80's robot is dead, alot of modern soldiers with a bit of nounce think for themselves.


get the army to change their colour perception standards so i dont have to move to the u.k to become an infantryman. im gen y all i've ever wanted to do was get into a battalion.
I certainly was not trying to imply that joining as an OR means you are thivk - I know differently. But to apply as an OR with a degree in the UK puts you firmly in the minority. In Oz it may be different. and yes, if you came to phase 1 with a degree I'd ask why you didn't think about Officer - the standard response is "I don;t want responsibility" which is ARRSE.

I think I can guess what you do (without looking at all Oz Volunteer units), and to encourage recruiting for Volunteer units (as we have had to in the UK to fill up SRR and other SF) will always mean getting the word out.

I work at Phase 1 and there are regular presentations by specialist units, to spread the word early to the recruits and also remind the instructors that there is more than doing 2 years as a Section Commander at a Phase 1 establishment and then back to Bn/Regt for ever.

The standard things I have seen used to "advertise" specialist units are:

- Ads in Army magazines "Are you interested in more of a challenge? Try x,y,z Regt"
- A line at the bottom of pay statement "Try x,y,z if you want to do something a bit different"
- Presentations to units, including training


Thanks mate. We are planning to do that and also implement a few of the ideas that fell out from our conference in the next couple of years.
Our recruiting and the percentage that end up staying with us is basically the same now as it has been for the last 30 years. So no dramas as yet.
This game is a business too and we need to look to options for the future.
Quite a few OR's in our unit have degrees or are studying part time. Most have more responsibility as NCOs/SNCOs than the junior officers. Our Captains are more like a PA to the Troop Sgt! OCs and the CO get the responsibility, but only after good advice from the SNCOs.
So not becoming an officer is more because they can stay in the unit long term and not get posted out after 2 or 3 years like the officers. The pay is v similar. A Sgt gets the same or a bit more than the Captain. Takes a while to get to Sgt though (10-12 years).


peaches. said:
get the army to change their colour perception standards so i dont have to move to the u.k to become an infantryman. im gen y all i've ever wanted to do was get into a battalion.

Ack the colour perception thing. Its a hard policy. I met a medic recently, very fit bloke who said the same thing. Wanted to go to infantry and couldn't because of his colour perception.
I didn't realise that UK wasn't as strict with this ruling.
Might be an option. Serve there for a few years.
Either that or go to an Aussie Non infantry job and get posted to Swanny Perth as a support person (Medic, Sig etc). I've heard that some of them back door it a bit and get to do some good courses, go on a lot of ops and are pretty close to the action.
Better than being frustrated that infantry is out of reach and being stuck in an office in the East coast army.


yeah i had thought about medic/int roles and trying to make my way west but at the end of the day that sort of thing isn't what drew me to the army in the first place. so i suppose its only a small price to pay though to head to the u.k to do what i really want. sorry to hijack your thread hahaha.

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