Recruitment woes plague Swedish military
At the start of the New Year, the Swedish Armed Forces (Försvarsmakten) was still 3,000 recruits short of staffing goals for Sweden's new mission-based military, the Svenska Dagbladet (SvD) newspaper reported on Monday.
A consequence of the shortfall may be that career soldiers will be forced to make more frequent tours of duty abroad.
But so far, the Armed Forces is way behind on its recruitment goals, with only 2,400 soldiers and sailors of the planned 5,300 having joined the military by the end of 2010.
Last week, the Armed Forces signed an agreement with Sweden's National Employment Agency (Arbetsförmedlingen) to help the military meet its goal of hiring between 4,000 and 6,000 new soldiers every year.
Part of the agreement calls for representatives from the Armed Forces to train jobs agency staff to ensure that the latter can provide an accurate picture of the jobs available and the Armed Forces as an employer.
The manpower shortage could be as high as 5,000 soldiers within two years, according to SvD.
The largest recruitment gaps exist among contracted soldiers who could be called up on an as-needed basis. So far, the Swedish military has yet to fill even one of the 9,200 spots set aside for contracted soldiers and sailors.
However, economist Ulf Jonsson with the Swedish Defence Research Agency (Totalförsvarets forskningsinstitut – FOI) warned that a consequence of the low recruitment figures could be that career soldiers will be sent abroad more often.
"Either you have fewer people to participate in the same number of missions or you cut down on the number of missions," he told The Local.
Jonsson, who last autumn published a report warning that the Swedish Armed Forces had underestimated the recruiting costs involved in shifting from a conscripted to a voluntary force, said he wasn't surprised that Sweden was having trouble meeting its recruitment goals.
"It's not uncommon that recruitment problems crop up during this kind of transition," he said.
"But the longer the negative spiral (of low recruitment numbers) continues, the harder it becomes to break the trend."
On his blog, defence minister Tolgfors downplayed the SvD report, calling it a “snapshot” of an ongoing process of transition which won’t be complete until 2014.
“As previously states, the final staffing balance in the mission-based organisation between full- and part-time employees won’t be finished until the year after,” Tolgfors wrote on his blog.
Politiker sind überall gleich - ein Problem so lange dementieren, bis es nicht mehr zu leugnen und die Katastrophe perfekt ist. Und wenn man bedenkt, dass die Aufstellung von Berufsarmeen in diversen europäischen Ländern in der jüngsten Vergangenheit hauptsächlich darauf abzielte, sich verstärkt in internationalen Missionen zu engagieren, gibt einem die Aussage dieses FOI-Wissenschaftlers schon zu denken.Frivilliga soldater dyrare än planerat
(16. November 2010)Freiwillige Soldaten teurer als geplant
1. JULI 2011
Frivilliga soldater istället för plikt - internationella erfarenheter och ekonomiska konsekvenser
Abstract The Swedish Parliament decided in May 2010 that the conscription would be abolished and replaced with an all voluntary force acc. The decision was based on the aim for a defence with high readiness and an increased capacity for international operations. This, together with a reduced need to maintain a numerically large defence organiation made the abolition of the applied conscription in favor of voluntariness a natural step. The Swedish experience of voluntarily recruited soldiers are limited why the Ministry of Defence asked FOI to study international experiences and use these experiences to analyze the recruitment and retention options and costs. FOI has also been asked to assess the economic impact of changes in manpower supply in the Swedish defence why an economic assessment of the economic planning assumptions has been performed. This report contains the results of these studies.
Swedish armed forces suffer new recruit exodus
National Service was abolished in Sweden on July 1st 2010. Since then the Swedish Armed Forces have been trying to recruit young people with massive advertising campaigns asking “Have you got what it takes?”.
According to SvD, the plan was to recruit 4,000 young Swedes every year.
Successful applicants then undergo a basic training course (Grundläggande Militär Utbildning – GMU), lasting three months.
The new figures show that out of the 6,600 applicants to the first intake, 862 were recruited. Out of these recruits 15 percent left during training.
In the second intake, which comprised 300 recruits and is underway at the moment, the drop out rate has increased further.
“So far, 20 percent have left. We will need to analyse why this is so,” said colonel Lars Hammarlund, in charge of training.
According to the military, one of the reasons is that many of the new recruits can’t take the physical strain that soldiering entails.
”This gives us reason to review the physical tests and examinations in the recruitment process,” Stålesjö told SvD.