Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Recruiting and retention

I wrote cautiously about CF recruiting victories back in June of this year because I was concerned about training and retention difficulties: if you can't train those you recruit, or if you lose more personnel through attrition than you recruit, your net numbers drop. And when it comes to increasing the Trained Strength & Advanced Training List, it's really the net numbers that count.

That's why this story, while deeply concerning, is really only one piece of the puzzle:

L’armée a du mal à retenir ses soldats. De 2001 à 2007, le nombre de militaires qui ont volontairement quitté les Forces armées canadiennes a presque doublé, passant de 2043 à 3797.

Voilà ce que révèlent des statistiques des Forces armées obtenues par Le Soleil. Ces chiffres excluent les départs à la retraite ou pour des raisons de santé. Pour l’année 2007, les données ont été compilées jusqu’à la fin octobre.

Comparés aux officiers, les militaires de rang sont proportionnellement plus nombreux à tourner le dos à l’armée.

Ces derniers comptent pour 85 % des départs en 2007 (3216 militaires) alors qu’ils représentent 75 % des effectifs.

Of particular concern is that, according to the article, attrition is higher among NCM's than officers. Senior enlisted personnel are the heart and soul of any professional fighting force, and if you're losing them at a disproportionately high rate, you have some serious problems.

There are a lot of factors that play into retention: op tempo, quality of life issues on base, pay, career progression, civilian employment prospects, and posting decisions, just to name a few off the top of my head. Each of those is worth a research paper all on its own, and I simply don't have the time to delve into all of them in detail.

Suffice to say that the Chief Military Personnel needs to find out what the problem is, and then fix it.

You can't recruit a Sergeant. It takes many years to grow one. Which is why you definitely want to lose as few as possible before their time. Pitter, patter.


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