Armed Forces: Recruitment

Ministry of Defence written question – answered at on 17 December 2015.

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Photo of The Marquess of Lothian The Marquess of Lothian Conservative

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what were (1) the targets for recruitment, and (2) the actual number of recruits, to each of the Armed Forces for each year from 2010 to 2015; and what action they are taking to increase the number of recruits to the Armed Forces.

Photo of Earl Howe Earl Howe The Minister of State, Ministry of Defence, Deputy Leader of the House of Lords

Defence Statistics publish Monthly Service Personnel Statistics, which include intake figures for the Armed Forces. The most recent information is contained in 'UK Armed Forces Monthly Service Personnel Statistics: November 2015' which is available at the following link:

Recruiting targets for the Reserve Forces for Financial Year (FY) 2014-15 onwards were set out in the Future Reserves 2020 paper, which was placed in the Library of the House on 19 December 2013 (reference DEP2013-2063), and are still valid. I refer my noble Friend to the Written Ministerial Statement made by my noble Friend the Lord Astor of Hever on 7 January 2014 (Official Report, column 169WS). Reserves intake figures from October 2013 onwards are published in the tables associated with the Monthly Service Personnel Statistics, and can also be found in the historic Quarterly Personnel Reports at the following link:

A summary of intake to UK Regular Forces and the Future Reserve 2020 (FR20) Volunteer Reserve by Financial Year for the period in question is attached. Data is held centrally from October 2012 for the Maritime Reserve, April 2012 for the Army Reserve, and April 2013 for the Royal Air Force (RAF) Reserve. Recruitment targets for FR20 were not set until October 2013 following the publication of the Reserves White Paper. Official statistics for Regular recruitment targets which may be meaningfully compared to the official intake statistics are not produced.

The Naval Service utilises a wide range of initiatives to increase the number of recruits, such as targeted marketing, specific recruitment events, career extensions and the use of retention incentives. There are also some specific mechanisms in place to attract recruits in specialist areas, such as staged remunerative awards to new entry Engineer Officers with relevant degrees, and the Direct Entry Technician Scheme, a one year trial to recruit suitably qualified and experienced personnel from private industry.

Recruitment into the Army is up. We are confident that our plans to recruit and retain the right mix of Regular and Reserve personnel are robust and viable. We continue to look at ways of attracting people from all walks of life into the Army. Our high-profile marketing campaign continues across various media platforms. The Army has launched a new Officer recruitment campaign, 'With Heart. With Mind', showcasing the Army Officer as a highly-skilled career that offers leadership, challenge and the opportunity to do something that makes a difference. We have made real improvements to the application pipeline and continue to look at ways of making this as efficient as possible, while fostering candidate enthusiasm and motivation.

A great deal of targeted activity is under way to improve recruitment and retention in the RAF. Proactive marketing of RAF Careers continues through a variety of media outlets, targeting specific branches and trades as well as offering recruitment and retention incentives. Recruitment events, such as the RAF Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) road show, nationally promote STEM and other roles within the RAF.

We have made a number of improvements to ensure we reach our target strength of 35,000 trained volunteer Reservists by 31 March 2019. Central to this is an improved offer, which includes better training, better equipment, improved remuneration and an improved experience for Reservists. We have also widened the opportunity for Reservists to contribute on operations and established a new relationship with employers, as well as improving the support available to employers when a Reservist employee is mobilised. These actions are in addition to improving capacity and flow in the recruiting process and our marketing campaigns. As a result, more Reservists are joining either as new entrants to the military, or with prior experience either in the Regulars or in the Reserves. 8,660 joined in the 12 months to 1 November, a 56% increase on the equivalent period a year earlier. Trained strength has reached 26,290, ahead of the April 2016 target.

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