Young people’s interest in a defence career is the highest it has been for a numbers of years, with all three services achieving close to 100 per cent of their recruiting targets, the head of defence recruiting says.
Air Commodore Sue McGready, Director-General of Defence Force Recruiting, said Defence had just come out of a financial year with some of their best recruiting results.
Navy achieved 97.2 per cent of their recruiting target while Army hit 98.2 per cent for full-time personnel. The RAAF achieved 99 per cent of its recruiting target.
For Navy, that was the best result since 1997 and for the Army it was the best result since 2003. The RAAF routinely achieves at or near its target.
AIRCDRE McGready said there were a number of metrics by which they assessed recruiting.
“We look at the propensity of young Australians to join the Defence Force, which is a significant high at the moment, probably the highest it's been for some time, and that's all about how we do our marketing and attraction,” she said in an interview with Defence Connect.
AIRCDRE McGready said around 80,000 candidates applied to join Defence each year, of whom about 7,500 were enlisted.
“So, there are still a lot of people who are unsuitable or who are unable to join, who change their minds sometimes through their recruiting process that it's just not for them,” she said.
“Usually we are attracting people who like the outdoors lifestyle, who are quite active kind of people, who are interested in technology as well, and people who are out there for a bit of adventure.”
AIRCDRE McGready said defence recruiting was working with the Defence Reserve Support Council to see how it can tap into defence industry.
And when personnel left the defence force and moved into industry, how could they be kept on the books as a reservist
“A lot of work being done in that place at the moment. We find actually that a lot of people who are in defence industry doing a job and they want to come and join the Reserve, they actually want to do something that's completely different to what they're doing in their day-to-day job,” she said.
A person working as an engineer in defence industry might have no interest in being an engineer in the Reserves and just want to be a rifleman.
Similarly, AIRCDRE McGready said, an aircraft technician in industry might want to be an Army cook or UAV operator.
“So, they're looking for it to be something different to what they do Monday to Friday, and we can provide them with opportunity,” she said.
AIRCDRE McGready said she was working with the strategic policy group within Defence on how to connect with defence industry and those candidates who may have a medical condition incompatible with being deployed or serving in the Defence Force.
“So, how do we then off ramp them because they might be suitable still for defence industry or for the Australian Public Service,” she said.