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Majority of Canadians not interested in joining the CAF

btrudy

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There are some disheartening stories coming out of basic training and BMOQ regarding recruits behavior, sense of entitlement, and physical prowess (or lack there of).

Due to what society is giving us to work with we may have to slash standards and expectations if we want to get our numbers up.

Or we can make the job better, in order to entice more people to join (allowing us to be picky about who makes it through), and keep those that we do have.
 

Furniture

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Or stop thinking spoiled brat high school and Uni grads have something over the dropout who would give anything to have a chance of a future......oh wait, that kind of thinking went out in the early 80's. Fortunately I was in that boat in the late 70's.....:cool:
I agree 100%, we need to spend less time chasing the top 10% of each grad class, and start courting the middle 50%. The kids not quite at scholarship level, but smart, and capable... just lacking direction.

Most of my NCMs are more educated than I am. The entire, "NCMs are uneducated narrative" is so bloody outdated it isn't even funny.

I don't qualify to join my current occupation. I've been in 21 years, and been promoted to PO1, but I couldn't walk into a recruiting centre and be recruited as a Met Tech.... Part of the CAFs problem is we got greedy in 2008-20011 when everybody wanted to be in the CAF, and failed to realize we couldn't be so picky anymore.
 

dimsum

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That is squarely on all of us. WE - us - have spoiled a few generations with "entitlements" and allowing them to sit in the basement playing COD when they should have been playing a sport of some sort.
I'll disagree there.

I would have been one of those kids if COD was a thing when I was younger. I didn't play sports until I was in my 20s/30s when I actually found one I really liked. I don't play much myself, but ESports is definitely a thing and it's to our detriment if we (as the CAF trying to recruit from society) don't acknowledge that.

Speaking of outdated stereotypes, the "fat neckbeard gamer living in mom's basement" is also due for the bin. Folks like Henry Cavill (of The Witcher fame) have changed the public's perception of "gamer" in the past few years.


Maybe a medal for graduating basic training. It is the demographic that has grown up with Participation awards for simply showing up.
We already have that. It's called "being able to wear your uniform and not getting called out for Stolen Valour".
 

Remius

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I'll disagree there.

I would have been one of those kids if COD was a thing when I was younger. I didn't play sports until I was in my 20s/30s when I actually found one I really liked. I don't play much myself, but ESports is definitely a thing and it's to our detriment if we (as the CAF trying to recruit from society) don't acknowledge that.

Speaking of outdated stereotypes, the "fat neckbeard gamer living in mom's basement" is also due for the bin. Folks like Henry Cavill (of The Witcher fame) have changed the public's perception of "gamer" in the past few years.



We already have that. It's called "being able to wear your uniform and not getting called out for Stolen Valour".
Your argument highlights exactly what one of the problems being demonstrated by some here.

Older people don’t understand younger people. They don’t know what motivates them, they don’t know how to speak their language and can’t fathom why none of them think like they do.

It’s worse now because there has likely never been a tech disparity as wide between generations than there is now.

The CAF hasn’t caught up on how to harness and develop new and emerging talent. By the time we actually figure out how to really use cyber operators and drone operators the real talent will be working civy side making three times the salary we will offer.

The issue isn’t them. It’s us.
 

rmc_wannabe

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Your argument highlights exactly what one of the problems being demonstrated by some here.

Older people don’t understand younger people. They don’t know what motivates them, they don’t know how to speak their language and can’t fathom why none of them think like they do.

It’s worse now because there has likely never been a tech disparity as wide between generations than there is now.

The CAF hasn’t caught up on how to harness and develop new and emerging talent. By the time we actually figure out how to really use cyber operators and drone operators the real talent will be working civy side making three times the salary we will offer.

The issue isn’t them. It’s us.
Having been on forefront of this technological disparity, I totally agree.

The amount of senior officers and NCMs that are technophobic, even in 2022, is a lot higher than you think. Now have these folks setting policy, working on projects, and developing strategy/doctrine for how we employ the latest cutting edge technology.

It's a depressing scene.
 

Humphrey Bogart

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I'll disagree there.

I would have been one of those kids if COD was a thing when I was younger. I didn't play sports until I was in my 20s/30s when I actually found one I really liked. I don't play much myself, but ESports is definitely a thing and it's to our detriment if we (as the CAF trying to recruit from society) don't acknowledge that.

Speaking of outdated stereotypes, the "fat neckbeard gamer living in mom's basement" is also due for the bin. Folks like Henry Cavill (of The Witcher fame) have changed the public's perception of "gamer" in the past few years.



We already have that. It's called "being able to wear your uniform and not getting called out for Stolen Valour".
I am a sports guy, but.....

I'm also a pretty big NERD when it comes to gaming. I play a lot of strategy games and was, until fairly recently, a pretty prolific Rocket League player.

Rocket League is great for hand-eye coordination... I'd probably make a great mini-UAV pilot. Strap a bomb to it and I'd be popping tank turrets in no time 😁
 

Brad Sallows

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I agree 100%, we need to spend less time chasing the top 10% of each grad class, and start courting the middle 50%.

Part of what the Forces must absolutely be able to do is train nearly any person above the fifth percentile (or so) to do a useful military job. While it's reasonable to chase the best prospects available in peacetime, the risk is forgetting how to work with all of the people available.
 

Booter

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Your argument highlights exactly what one of the problems being demonstrated by some here.

Older people don’t understand younger people. They don’t know what motivates them, they don’t know how to speak their language and can’t fathom why none of them think like they do.

It’s worse now because there has likely never been a tech disparity as wide between generations than there is now.

The CAF hasn’t caught up on how to harness and develop new and emerging talent. By the time we actually figure out how to really use cyber operators and drone operators the real talent will be working civy side making three times the salary we will offer.

The issue isn’t them. It’s us.
This is why we keep trying to sell the CF and it’s pension to a generation that does a job for a couple years and then does something else.

I remember my dad telling me I “had” to get a job with a pension. We were coal mining east coast people- federal service was the lottery. You do your twenty, take your pension, move home, and live like a king.

When I talk to the boy he isn’t motivated by my statements about pensions. He also doesn’t believe there will be anywhere you can live like a king in twenty years 🤷‍♀️
 

btrudy

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Your argument highlights exactly what one of the problems being demonstrated by some here.

Older people don’t understand younger people. They don’t know what motivates them, they don’t know how to speak their language and can’t fathom why none of them think like they do.

It’s worse now because there has likely never been a tech disparity as wide between generations than there is now.

The CAF hasn’t caught up on how to harness and develop new and emerging talent. By the time we actually figure out how to really use cyber operators and drone operators the real talent will be working civy side making three times the salary we will offer.

The issue isn’t them. It’s us.

That is squarely on all of us. WE - us - have spoiled a few generations with "entitlements" and allowing them to sit in the basement playing COD when they should have been playing a sport of some sort. We have taught people they have rights but no mention of responsibilities a citizen has - like just being a good person. Our TV shows reflect it - the Kardashians come to mind -but they are just a symptom.

So we take these sullen spoilt brats and try to train them to undergo some deprivation and sometimes it works. Sometimes it doesn't.
Even if the "problem" was with younger people, which is not a premise that I even remotely accept (Heck, in matters of condoning or perpetrating bigotry or sexual harassment, the Gen Z is leaps and bounds better than even the Millenials, let alone Gen X and Boomers), the issue is always going to be us, because a military needs to work with the population it's got.

Are Gen Z recruits less likely to want to blindly follow orders without any reasonable explanation for why those orders are being issued? Absolutely. Are they less willing to tolerate being told to do things for no particular reason? Toque and Glove flowchart anyone? Yes.

Do basically all Gen Z feel "entitled" to being treated with dignity and respect at all times? Yes.

Is any of this a bad thing? No.

Tolerating petty bullshit might be something that is required based upon the manner in which the CAF has operated and currently operates, but it's not actually something that is required in order to conduct operations effectively. We don't actually want a top-down approach without any input from the people actually carrying out the orders in question; we all see how well that's working with Russia's military after all.

The CAF as an institution is going to have to pivot the manner in which it operates in order to more effectively engage with its personnel at all levels. But when we do, we'll be more effective as a result.
 

brihard

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This is why we keep trying to sell the CF and it’s pension to a generation that does a job for a couple years and then does something else.
Ah, but why do they do a job for a couple years and then move to something else?

I’ll suggest it might be because pay is probably not great to begin with, the only way to see meaningful pay increases is to negotiate them with a new employer, and when you’re living paycheck to paycheck it’s hard to wrap your head around drawing a pension 30 years from now. You’re too busy doing what you’ve got to do to get by now. Add to that that few of these jobs are likely ‘callings’ that inspire anyone to look at them as a career.

There are things CAF can and should offer to draw people into a meaningful career that they can grow in for their working life. CAF at least offers that- decent salary growth if you keep showing up and advance from time to time. And if you pursue the option of commissioning down the road, you’re set. Most Canadians can’t wrap their heads around the notion of earning what even a Captain makes.

If CAF can modernize attitudes within the institution and get better at treating adult volunteers like, well… adults who volunteered to serve their country, then there’s no reason it cannot be a damned attractive employer of choice for the whole-career cadre that the institution needs. And at the same time, better advertising of benefits like the Education and Training Benefit and Career Transition Services could help to attract more ‘short timers’ to fill the ranks while they figure out what they want to do when they grow up. Some of them will decide to stick around, too.
 

btrudy

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Ah, but why do they do a job for a couple years and then move to something else?

I’ll suggest it might be because pay is probably not great to begin with, the only way to see meaningful pay increases is to negotiate them with a new employer, and when you’re living paycheck to paycheck it’s hard to wrap your head around drawing a pension 30 years from now. You’re too busy doing what you’ve got to do to get by now. Add to that that few of these jobs are likely ‘callings’ that inspire anyone to look at them as a career.

There are things CAF can and should offer to draw people into a meaningful career that they can grow in for their working life. CAF at least offers that- decent salary growth if you keep showing up and advance from time to time. And if you pursue the option of commissioning down the road, you’re set. Most Canadians can’t wrap their heads around the notion of earning what even a Captain makes.

If CAF can modernize attitudes within the institution and get better at treating adult volunteers like, well… adults who volunteered to serve their country, then there’s no reason it cannot be a damned attractive employer of choice for the whole-career cadre that the institution needs. And at the same time, better advertising of benefits like the Education and Training Benefit and Career Transition Services could help to attract more ‘short timers’ to fill the ranks while they figure out what they want to do when they grow up. Some of them will decide to stick around, too.
The entire Gen Z cohort and most millenials are well aware that, in general, the best way to advance your career is to jump ship when there's a better opportunity presented, since companies are slow and reluctant to promote and/or give raises; you need to leave your employer for that.

This isn't terrible for most employers, as they're largely able to capture highly skilled and trained workers by simply offering them a reasonably better deal than what their current employers were underpaying them with.

The CAF on the other hand, can't take advantage of that, because we only ever hire at the entry level.

But we're also not doing anything to stem the flow of people leaving. We get people in, spend hundreds of thousands of dollars training them up, and then watch as they leave for an employer (well, a series of employers) who'll treat and pay them better.

Now, I'm not advocating that we start hiring Cpls and Sgts and Majors. But we need to stem the revolving door; otherwise all we're doing is subsidizing private industry by handing them a bunch of people who we spent a lot of money to develop.

And we need to do this by ensuring that at all rank levels, our compensation and benefits are competitive enough that people would find it hard to find a better offer from other employers.
 

dapaterson

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Now, I'm not advocating that we start hiring Cpls and Sgts and Majors. But we need to stem the revolving door; otherwise all we're doing is subsidizing private industry by handing them a bunch of people who we spent a lot of money to develop.
In certain occupations, in certain positions, we certainly should be doing that. Lateral entry with real world experience should be A Thing, beyond the "instant Cpl on BMQ grad" for certain entry plans / "lawyer or Dr with no training is an insta-Capt".
 

TacticalTea

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One of the key issues is that this used to be a pyramid, now it's a 'Beer Belly' ;)

And, FWIW, recent feedback I've received from serving Infantry types is that people are leaving in droves because the training is boring, not personally challenging, under resourced and over-hyped.


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Not too sure what your pyramid/beer belly point is, care to elaborate?

On this part, though, I think you're touching on something important:
the training is boring, not personally challenging, under resourced and over-hyped.
2 years from walking in to the recruitment office to marching onto boot camp is ridiculous. Nobody has that much time to waste and we're losing many people to that. Then, having to spend not weeks but several MONTHS in-between courses, just sitting on your ass is unacceptable. And as you say, even when you do get to the training, the lack of a real challenge can be a significant letdown for many. Over a three year period, I did BMQ, BMOQ, then watched my brother do his BMOQ. The decline in difficulty was appallingly precipitous.

This lack of engagement is driving out a lot of people, young people, who feel like they're wasting away their best years.
 

daftandbarmy

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In certain occupations, in certain positions, we certainly should be doing that. Lateral entry with real world experience should be A Thing, beyond the "instant Cpl on BMQ grad" for certain entry plans / "lawyer or Dr with no training is an insta-Capt".

Like for the sexist job in the world: data science

More than anything, what data scientists do is make discoveries while swimming in data. It’s their preferred method of navigating the world around them. At ease in the digital realm, they are able to bring structure to large quantities of formless data and make analysis possible. They identify rich data sources, join them with other, potentially incomplete data sources, and clean the resulting set. In a competitive landscape where challenges keep changing and data never stops flowing, data scientists help decision-makers shift from ad hoc analysis to an ongoing conversation with data.


 
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daftandbarmy

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Not too sure what your pyramid/beer belly point is, care to elaborate?

On this part, though, I think you're touching on something important:

2 years from walking in to the recruitment office to marching onto boot camp is ridiculous. Nobody has that much time to waste and we're losing many people to that. Then, having to spend not weeks but several MONTHS in-between courses, just sitting on your ass is unacceptable. And as you say, even when you do get to the training, the lack of a real challenge can be a significant letdown for many. Over a three year period, I did BMQ, BMOQ, then watched my brother do his BMOQ. The decline in difficulty was appallingly precipitous.

This lack of engagement is driving out a lot of people, young people, who feel like they're wasting away their best years.

Like many big organizations the military is hunting for a fast shrinking pool of young people. 20-50 years ago there were far more young people and it was easier to find them and attract them to jobs with relatively unsophisticated tools, like posters and mall displays. The bottom of the pyramid was much bigger than the middle or top so it was like shooting fish in a barrel.

Now, there are just not enough bodies for all the jobs set up for younger people like, you know, #2 rifleman.

Data scientists know how to do that because it's all about understanding, and managing the behaviours and motivations of, a large number of micro-demographic groups for recruiting as well as for longer term retention, which is more important in many ways as an employee has had alot of time and money invested in them by the organization. Talking about the behaviours of 'Gen Z' as if millions of people in that generation will all act the same way is a huge mistake.

If the height of our analytics driven activities include continuing to send recruiters to high schools because it's what we've always done, the CAF is probably doomed to lose the competition for fresh meat.
 

YZT580

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I know a Sgt Flight Engineer who has 2 Masters Degrees. He just likes what he’s doing.
and that says it all. I was employed for 30 plus years by TC and it was a rare day that I started considering doing anything else. Except during contract time it was a joy to go in to work. People don't change jobs because X offers more than Y unless that person is dissatisfied with what he is doing in X. People are exiting the military in droves because their employer shows very little respect for what they do and consistently treats them like crap. When it takes decades to decide on a pair of boots or a new pistol, when you see people promoted because they have learned to play the system instead of mastering their profession, when your parts supply for your supposedly state of the art combat system is the local wrecking yard it doesn't take much to lose interest. Couple that with the callous manner in which family is treated or rather time with family is routinely abused and regardless of how much you increase salaries you are still going to bleed bodies.
 

Jarnhamar

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Or we can make the job better, in order to entice more people to join (allowing us to be picky about who makes it through), and keep those that we do have.

Better how? And why are people not joining?

We already have applicants joining who are shocked that they have to be physically fit/physically active. Shocked that they're not just left alone for the first 6 months to a year after joining. Shocked that the needs of the institution are put above what they feel like doing.
 

btrudy

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Better how? And why are people not joining?
Honestly, I don't think "people not joining" is the problem. Or at least it's not "people not wanting to join". But the application process takes an entire year to get in if you're lucky.

Our problem isn't getting people interested in the CAF; it's actually getting them enrolled, and then keeping them once they are.

We already have applicants joining who are shocked that they have to be physically fit/physically active.

Eh, that hasn't been my experience. People aren't shocked about having to be physically fit / active. Hell, the FORCE test is simple enough that it's hard to argue that we actually expect them to be physically fit / active. What they might be legitimately shocked / annoyed at is that they're forced to do some useless PSP-led bottom-common-denominator group PT, rather than allowing them time to work on achieving their own personal fitness goals.

Shocked that they're not just left alone for the first 6 months to a year after joining.

I don't think people are shocked that they're not just left alone after joining. They're frustrated that they're getting in, and then expected to sit around on PAT platoon doing nothing all day because there's a 14 month backlog to get them on their occupational training.

And yes, I would certainly say that if you don't actually have something constructive to do with people who are sitting around doing nothing, then at least let them "work from home". I'd rather they be wasting time playing video games because they like playing video games than wasting time sitting around twiddling their thumbs and growing increasingly resentful to the CAF.

Shocked that the needs of the institution are put above what they feel like doing.

I would posit that if we were actually putting the needs of the institution above, well, anything, then we'd be doing more to keep people, as retention is the most serious ongoing crisis the CAF has.

Unfortunately, the CAF exemplifies "can't see the forest for the trees", in the manner in which we tend to treat every small piddly useless make-work tasking as if it's the only thing keeping the Soviets from storming over the north pole. Meanwhile, managing people like this is only strengthening their resolve to get out as soon as they can possibly find better employment.
 

Booter

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Applications are down across all federal services outside the PS, I’m not exposed to that and quite frankly it looks like witchcraft when I am included.

People aren’t applying- and I think that is true though- the application process is stupid.

Again- giving it resources would help. It’s either a priority or it’s not.

Perhaps a restructuring of the reserves is in order. Like turning the supp reserve into a real thing that means- you go do two days of recerts a year or something.

Canadas reserve forces system, and this is NOT a slight on the incredible work done by the people in it, were a way for individuals to increase their political power- by having a rank, and access to politicians and that life- or by financing the regiments itself.

Eventually it turned into a life support system to fill gaps in an overburdened reg force.

Do three or four years in reg, transition to reserves- then when your life situation isn’t working with it anymore. Transition again to supp with Two days a year in case you’re needed in an emergency. Then you have all these people actually connected to the organization today.

Give resources or priority to getting recruiting into a slick pipe.

Stop telling kids the training is exciting…when the reality is they won’t snap a round off before the new fiscal because money wasn’t planned .
 
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