TA Recruitment

Discussion in 'Army Reserve' started by Moodybitch, Nov 10, 2004.

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  1. Hi all

    We have just undertaken an ad campaign for the TA, but feedback suggests there has been a dire response rate.

    I know the Army is struggling to recruit British nationals at present but can you guys shed any light on this as to why the response was so awful??
  2. If non-British nationals want to join up in order to swear allegiance to HM and take the dangers that go with it then we should take those guys on instead of trying to struggle in vain with our home grown 'couch potatoes'.
  3. MB, were the ads for your area or are you talking the UK as a whole? I ask as we have people streaming through the door , but they get F'd off over the long winded Gaps/taffs program.
  4. Really? Can't say I noticed any ad campaign.

    I was also in London over the summer, and if the standard of advertising is anything like the LondonSoldier publicity stuff, you gonna be waiting a long time for any decent response.

    I wouldn't usually be quite so negative, and I'd love to be constructive, but knowing nothing (really) about advertising apart from being on the receiving end, not sure what to say...

    Um, I remember thinking the TV ads from a few years back were quite cool, if that helps? The ones where you were shown a situation and asked what would be the best course of action.
  5. TA campaigns we run are always on a regional basis, this one ran in the south east - as dictated to us by the client.

    He is not happy as response rates are shoite. We can't understand it either
  6. Snow White - the target audience were 16-19 yr old male college students so I doubt you would have seen the ad - unless you are at college
  7. its probably because the TA have had so much bad press since the whole Telic Operation has been on the go about being unprepared, undertrained, unprofessional etc.... one bad article in one of the paps does a whole world of hurt.
  8. Well, you didn't say that... I am a student though. But at a Uni not a college. How can I / we comment on ads we haven't seen?
  9. erm, my question was asking for an insight into the state of army/ta recruiting - not if anyone liked our ad?!

    Most ppl on here are either ex or still serving and therefore wouldnt be interested in the ad - I wanted some feedback on whether this was a common problem across all TA regions.
  10. Oh, fair enough then.

    Although I still think that response (or lack thereof) would also have quite a bit do to with quality / ditribution of advertising material in question and/or the state of the nation's 'yoof' as well as more general factors.

    In theory, I might also be someone the TA would like to recruit (being at least of the right nationality and age etc), so my response isn't necessarily irrelevant.
  11. I suspect that the reasons are widespread (in no particular order, just as they occur):

    i) There has been a fundamental shift in the expectations of 'our nation's youth' - chorus of 'no realy, Sherlock!' The weekend more than ever is a moment of hedonistic abandonment in the course of an otherwise tedious week, and not everyone sees no sleep for 48 hours and sleeping in a ditch [sic] as just the thing.

    ii) With what seems like half the population marching 'against the illegal war in (... insert operational theatre here...)' perhaps it ought not to be so surprising that the same old calls to arms are not having the same old response.

    iii) The criteria for those reg inf bns facing disbandment centre around under-recruitment - so this is clearly is not a TA only phenomenon.

    iv) In spite of (and to some extent perhaps even because of) the heavy media interest with TELIC number X, the TA's profile as a worthwhile endeavour is lower than ever. In the days of home defence bns defending us from third shock army the specific need to promote the 'You need the TA' message was small. The only thing the general population see at the moment is 'the army' - for which read regular army. Fantastic for the one army concept, but utterly defeating for the profile of the TA.
    During the last week I met a pair of friends who had been given a lift to the pub by her father, his comments to them on the subject of my TA service on the way had centred around his opinion, as an ex national serviceman, that 'the TA is a waste of investment as the level of training is too low to allow their deployment'. Useful for those who felt the need to play soldier - but nothing more.

    v) Could some of the reticence to enlist centre around the sneaking suspicion that it would mean unpensionable service, deployment one year in three, no X-factor... the list goes on and can be found on inumerable threads around here. I don't necessarily agree with all of it - but there is a perception that this is the case - not laest amongst those who are already serving.

    vi) JSC this summer was full of talk of the rebranding of the TA - the best suggestion which the course could come up with when asked for ideas about a potential new name was, 'Well, there is always Yeomanry and Militia...' smattering of giggles. It cannot be about 'rebranding': what we do is a great job, all things considered, what needs to happen is that the public must find out what we do do. The last major coverage the TA had was the Guardian's article about the Londons Coy in Basra (three weeks ago?), great stuff but if a third of the troops in theatre are 'reservists of first choice' why is one third of the media's attention not focussed on them?

    I am painfully aware that this is neither the whole picture nor in fact are all of the points strictly true - but the point is that it is perception which is important. Propaganda (and recruiting) being what it is, it is what the people believe which is important.
  12. I am in the southeast, can't say I remember seeing any advertising, we were'nt advised of any ads coming up etc as we usally do some stands/displays to coincide. Then again as I said before we have good numbers applying at the moment, so maybe its not as dire as it sounds?
  13. Hi MB
    I would be interested to know which part of the recruiting 'food chain' you're in. I can't shed any light on the non-uptake from Joe Public but I can tell you about the grumbling downstream of Recruiting Group.

    RG came up with the TA Brand and set about enforcing it with the usual baseball bat. Nothing wrong there, good skills and, I have to say, a slickly produced manual. The problem was their policy of making the brand universal rather than regimentally based, hence the huge 'ARMY' splot and the tiny,teeny badly lit capbadge that you are begrudgingly allowed to balance on the edge of the branded piece.

    The way RG see it is this: East of England Regiment advertise for soldiers, one bloke sees the advert but joins 2623 Sqn RAuxAF Regt = good use of taxpayers money. Well okay, but what they forgot to do was to uncouple the results-driven chest-poking that goes with the recruiting game from formation level down: 'You just spent £xxxx.xx on recruiting and noone joined - you're sacked!' Nothing is gained by saying 'but sir, the local RMR unit gained a cook as a direct result of my efforts.'

    I have had this conversation with an agency who does work for my local RFCA and they agree wholeheartedly. We cannot get funds for recruiting from RFCA unless the TA Brand is rigidly enforced. The net result is that we now get funds from anywhere but the RFCA and design our own stuff which gets much better results precisely because it plays on the regimental/local link.

    I take it that you are talking about a regional campaign which, by virtue of the fact that it covers more than one service, makes more sense of the RG policy. That said, I too am interested to see if anyone can shed any light on the deafening silence from potential recruits.
  14. Moody - I touched on this in another thread.

    1. TA Soldiers are now obliged by law to inform employers/potential employers that they are members of the TA. If you do not, the army will inform them anyway.

    2. RFA '96 was a double edged sword - it supposedly put employee/employer protection into place, but also made it far easier to mobilise individuals. The govt did not therefore have to make such a considered decision before announcing that the TA were to be utilised in Telic.

    3. Many employers probably didn't mind their employees being called up for the initial ground war, as this is what they would expect the TA to be used for. However, to continue using the TA for continued operations in the stabilisation phase has probably gotten their backs up, especially in time when the govt announce cuts to the regular army.

    4. Potential TA recruits are no longer told "Don't worry about being called up....it's never likely to happen" as it is almost certain that you will be called up at some stage in your early career.

    My employers were very supportive of their TA employees and immediately reviewed their policy on benefits extended to their TA employees if/when they were mobilized. (Well, being a big american company...they probably had to be supportive!!). However, I find that I now have to play down my TA connection as they seem to consider it an embuggerance factor that they have to have a plan B to replace me at short notice in my absence. That is not easy as I have a lot of specialised knowledge in my line of work (even if I do say so myself!)

    I could go on and on as to why people are more reluctant than ever to make a commitment to the TA...but I won't. Instead, I will happily discuss this over a pint while I flirt outrageously with you on the 4th. (yet another thread) I will even let you buy it, just so you don't think that I am leading you on..... 8)
  15. Me again,
    In the course of writing my first post the answer to my first question became apparent.
    On reading the subsequent posts, I think that it is reasonable to assume that factors like the requirements of RFA 96 are not major. The potential recruit would have to show up before any information like that could be passed on -- what you are describing is total radio silence.

    The worst mistake that most companies make is to think that they own their own 'brand'. Branding ain't like that -- its the punter who owns the brand because it is made up of all the experiences (positive and negative) that that person has encountered in the course of their daily lives. If a brand is perceived to be good it is because the positives outweigh the negatives and a huge number of them remain outside your control. I would take an educated guess that the TA Brand (which is influenced not only by your ad campaign but by everything from news articles to the lampooning of the TA by The Office and Jack Dee) is, in your target audience's experience, negative at the moment.