Army recruitment disproportionately targets poor people

Xinhua/SIPA USA/PA Images

The British army has been criticised for explicitly targeting young people from poor, working class backgrounds in its latest recruitment advertising campaign.

Child Soldiers International, a charity that aims to prevent children from being recruited into the military, said the army’s ‘This is Belonging’ campaign disproportionately targets young people from working class backgrounds with limited opportunities.

Isabelle Guitard, director of programmes at Child Soldiers International, told the Guardian that a briefing document to the advertising agency shows the campaign was aimed at “adrenaline-seeking” teenagers who were easily influenced by other people.

The document suggests that the advertisements should be aimed at 16-24 year olds in the ‘C2DE’ categories – the three lowest socio-economic categories in the UK. It also states that they are primarily aimed at potential army recruits in Glasgow, Newcastle, Peterborough, Doncaster, Liverpool, Cardiff, Birmingham, Manchester, Sheffield, Portsmouth, Middlesbrough and Nottingham – the army’s “top performing” locations for applicants.

“The army’s focus on areas where employment opportunities are limited reflects not only a desperate need to fill a recruitment shortfall but a cynical exploitation of the shortage of adequate career and training choices for all young people in society,” said Guitard.

The organisation also criticised the army for targeting advertisements at young people around the time they received their GCSE results. It claimed it used social media to target stressed teenagers on and around results day to “unwittingly” encourage them to join the army if they were disappointed with their exam results.

Col Ben Wilde, assistant director of army recruiting, said: “Joining the army gives young people the opportunity for a great career, with the benefit of gaining skills and qualifications through world-leading training, as well as finding a sense of belonging.

“This recruitment campaign is targeted at anyone who meets our high standards, regardless of their background or where they live, and seeks to illustrate the opportunities we are proud to offer.”

2 Responses to Army recruitment disproportionately targets poor people

  1. J Rowney 13 Sep 2018 at 1:56 pm #

    Isabelle Guitard should be aware that this is nothing new. The army has always mopped up those who fell through the net at school. In the 60’s my brother left school with no qualifications and joined up at 18. He joined the Signals and really did learn a trade ie telecomms which he worked in until retirement.

    It is often a very positive thing.

  2. Scott Walmsley 15 Sep 2018 at 8:17 pm #

    I thing strategic recruiting is the way forward in any industry, its articles like tgis that leaves sour taste in peoples mouths. The army offers any potential candidates a career and a good sense of belonging. Those with higher grades are also targeted however this is more towards the officer route that some do and do not find appealing.

Leave a Reply