Army admits progress to diversity is slow

The
British Army is trying to diversify and reflect the population of Britain, but
progress is slow, according to the Army’s head of HR.

The
Adjutant General, Lieutenant General Sir Alistair Irwin, speaking exclusively
to Personnel Today, said the Army was trying to target people across every
community, right down to 12-year-olds.

“The
fact of the matter is we have not yet persuaded a representative number of
people from the ethnic communities in Britain to join us,” he said.

“We
need people from every part of the community to come in; they all bring their
own qualities,” the General said. “We do not want to be politically correct, we
want to be practical – we want a British Army that represents the population of
Britain.”

He
said the Army was making ‘endless efforts to get involved’ and persuade
different ages and ethnic back grounds to join up.

The
Army recruits through road shows, visits to schools, visits to conferences,
liaison visits to ethnic communities and its interactive website.

It
now has a dedicated ethnic minority recruiting team and a twice-yearly magazine
aimed at a 12-16-year-old audience.

Changing
demographics mean targeting the young will become ever more important, the
General said.

“We
know that we are going to be looking at slowly decreasing pool of young and we
have to make the package we offer – just like any other employer – as
attractive as possible,” he said. “So we emphasise the social life, we
emphasise the sport, adventure training, the world travel, the excitement, the
non-regularity, the comradeship.”

The
General said the task of recruiting was also getting more difficult as the
nature of society changed.

“The
hurdles we are facing now are not the same hurdles faced by people recruiting
into the army many years ago,” he said. “The whole nature of society is one
that tends to shy away from the notion of a disciplined and demanding life –
that is precisely what the Army is all about.”

By
Michael Millar

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