In these tough economic times it seems that the only secure and truly recession proof jobs are via the military. The prospect of a free education, work experience, and a guaranteed paycheck for the next few years is a great incentive for many to enlist. It is true that many see the military as their escape from the recession woes as unemployment remains high and military pay is on par, if not higher than the national average. With such a surplus of potential candidates, military recruiting should seem like an easy gig but in reality the job of the recruiter is tougher now than it ever was.
Retention Ratios are Still High
The standard military contract is four years. This means that a majority of enlistees of those that enlisted in 2009, when the economy took its first deep dive, are now up for either reenlistment or separation. Many recognize the problems in unemployment and are opting to remain in service. This can clog up advancement opportunities but also limits the amount of open slots that are available on the lower end.
Recruiting Standards on the Rise
Several years ago, just about anyone between the ages of 18-35 could enlist in the military providing they met the minimum education requirement and scored adequately on the ASVAB test. Due to the high retention rate in recent years and high influx of potential candidates, even high school grads are now being turned away. Many branches are now only accept applicants with a minimum of first year college credits under their belt.
No More Waivers
In the past, during the recruitment process, waivers were often accepted in cases where the recruiting requirement has not been met and could be resolved in the recruiting or ascension process. These waivers covered a variety of issues ranging from being slightly overweight to having a criminal record. They also provided for those applicants who were less-than-perfect an opportunity to make things right in their lives. These waivers are now non-existent and the recruit is expected to meet the standards upon entry.
For the military careerist, military recruiting was once an opportunity to enjoy a position where the service member was able to take it easy in a unit that doesn’t deploy. Recruiting duty used to mean being able to take it easy, go home every night, and take in a little downtime in exchange of the years of hard work they’ve put in elsewhere. The poor economy creating a surplus of walk-in candidates make recruiting and easy sell, even with a war happening overseas. Yet, stricter requirements and elimination of waivers is thinning that pool and hurting recruiting efforts. All this while quotas and manning opportunities have changed very little. These tighter restrictions are making recruiting more difficult which results in a lack of motivation for recruiters to find more recruits. It also raises the competition among recruiters in searching for qualified candidates. Both of which are not beneficial to recruiting or the needs of our military.
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