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  • RAFs recruitment policy – discrimation surely?
  • theotherjonv
    Full Member

    @chrismac

    I think we agree, apart from diverse thinkers doesn’t necessarily mean can’t follow procedures or will break the rules. There are many (legal, and ethical) ways to approach problem solving and they don’t have to be radical to be different.

    I’ve been involved in recruiting a large number of scientists in my role in the last three years. Men and women, from many different nationalities and ethnicities, and other diverse orientations. The issue is, most of them have followed the same path – pretty much from “decent families”* that see value in an education leading to support through whatever the equivs are of sixth form and Uni and in many cases PhD. Consequently. no matter their race or ethnicity, their lived experience in many respects is similar.

    I have managed to recruit a few in this time similar to my example; not necessarily by gender but with a different lived experience for whatever reason. They are all superb scientists, there is still that benchmark of course but the richness it brings to the group in terms of how the group functions and approaches its work is brilliant. And it’s opened some eyes in the more senior members of the team too, who have been challenged out of their ‘but that’s just how it is’ bubble. It doesn’t have to be, if you’re prepared to accept the challenge.

    * deliberately provocative, but I think folks understand and it’s meant to be a statement rather than a judgement.

    @theotherjonv

    The issue is, most of them have followed the same path – pretty much from “decent families”* that see value in an education leading to support through whatever the equivs are of sixth form and Uni and in many cases PhD. Consequently. no matter their race or ethnicity, their lived experience in many respects is similar.

    Very similar in defence. Officers and other ranks are very similar in their groups in a lot of ways, and for the first part of their journey it’s about adjustment and compliance to a new way of life. Takes a while before many are in a position to show their individuality.

    But many show their ignorance on this subject as a great many recruited into defence aren’t yet qualified in an specific area. Which is where this conversation has morphed to.

    theotherjonv
    Full Member

    Like minded workforce tend to be more cohesive, not diverse, can get the job done quickly and everyone is happy.

    Diverse, not like minded, can think out of the box better but not may not be cohesive.

    I couldn’t disagree more. It might be true initially, and it does create challenges but it’s poor recruitment and management if that enters the decision making process and can’t be overcome. Of course, you don’t recruit pricks who will just disrupt, but that’s not what is being suggested.

    Imagine you are being treated by a doctor that is recruited based on positive discrimination and not based on merit. You want that?

    As I said in my examples, in all cases they are suitably qualified for the job. Why does best skills then trump best for the organisation (and maybe even society) overall, which seems to be what you are suggesting? What if the lesser skilled (but still perfectly qualified )person was the only applicant, you’d be happy to recruit them then, no?

    thisisnotaspoon
    Full Member

    Imagine you are being treated by a doctor that is recruited based on positive discrimination and not based on merit. You want that?

    Arguably, yes, but further back in the process.

    I’ll change the career as medicine is far more evenly balanced already. Some engineering branches are daft ratios like 20:1.

    You recruit more women into engineering careers by encouraging them into Scientific A-levels. You’ve then got a larger pool of applicants to engineering courses at university, so you’ve got a better cohort of undergrads. You’ve then got a better influx of engineers when they join the workforce. Which means at the end of the day bridges don’t collapse precisely because something was done early enough in the system to encourage an underrepresented group into it.

    chewkw
    Free Member

    In terms of roles within Defence this isn’t a thing. You’re selecting those who meet a minimum requirement (physical fitness/health, educational attainment, aptitude) that makes them a potential for success, but there are no guarantees so ‘best’ is a very subjective label.

    Minimum standard yes, but that’s different from recruitment based on filling in diverse quota.

    As for being “best” you just have to keep filtering out until you get the one that can perform the task perfectly.

    Minimum standard yes, but that’s different from recruitment based on filling in diverse quota.

    Not really it’s simply moving the priorities, it’s not like in a civilian job where you might have 10 candidates for one role, there’s often more roles available than candidates through the door.

    Prioritising the recruitment of more specific group of candidates isn’t anything new, the mistake here is essentially stopping recruitment for the majority demographic because that’s simply going to create further personnel shortages.

    The caveat is there are certain roles that have much smaller recruitment number requirement.

    I appreciate many don’t have any clue about the military’s recruitment process, but your mistake would be appling what you know of civilian processes here.

    They’re fundamentally different beasts.

    As for being “best” you just have to keep filtering out until you get the one that can perform the task perfectly.

    Quite. But you often don’t know who the ‘best’ is until they get to the end of a very long training pipeline. And ‘best’ is a civilian term, I’d be wary of any fellow serviceman or woman who viewed themselves as the best of anything.

    wbo
    Free Member

    Chew – you asked early if you misread, no you misunderstood. You then used as an example a system which recruits from a religious/ethnic group despite them being any good or not, as it’s the right thing to do socially – the exact opposite of positive discrimination to encourage better representation. So you fundamentally do not understand this.

    Nobody thinks it’s having good results to have so many old Etonians in governent roles, but this is what the system produces. Everybody would like people with more real world experience – this will require some encouragement and positive discrimination. This is a good example I think

    theotherjonv
    Full Member

    As for being “best” you just have to keep filtering out until you get the one that can perform the task perfectly.

    No, for the majority of roles, even I’d suggest a lot of surgery, you don’t need perfection. You need competent, adequate, particularly if that person adds other skills / capabilities on top.

    And as TINAS says, a lot of that comes from training and opportunity. The best engineer in the world might be a 60 year old white male, but it’s not because he’s old, white and male. It’s from the experience, training and opportunities he’s been given, probably over other equally deserving candidates. Even if that was in engineering school recruitment processes in the early 80’s, which is what we need to challenge so it doesn’t perpetuate for another 40 years.

    Everybody would like people with more real world experience

    In this case, that experience is very limited. We’re talking about on average fairly narrow recruiting age brackets {there are outliers), so that experience is limited compared to civilian organisations, comparing the two is a little apples/oranges.

    chewkw
    Free Member

    Not really it’s simply moving the priorities, it’s not like in a civilian job where you might have 10 candidates for one role, there’s often more roles available than candidates through the door.

    Yes, but they are not rocket scientists or pilots flying multi-million pounds jets to protect your life aren’t they? If you are talking about general bureaucratic role in civilian jobs like city council it is not an issue because that’s the norm.

    Prioritising the recruitment of more specific group of candidates isn’t anything new, the mistake here is essentially stopping recruitment for the majority demographic because that’s simply going to create further personnel shortages.

    Let us make this assumption, RAF has 10 top gun pilots applying for one jet fighter role but on paper they are short of one candidate with “diverse” background. Out of the lot applying 9 are highly qualified while one is slightly less qualified. But because they need to comply with the quota of meeting diversity, the less qualified get the job. Then one day during aerial combat the whole squadron got short down because the less qualified pilot lack one skill crucial for the role. Isn’t that a bit foolish?

    the exact opposite of positive discrimination to encourage better representation.

    Certain jobs you can have as much diversity or positive discrimination as you like but there are also certain jobs that you need to select the best out of the best, base on merit regardless.

    Let us make this assumption, RAF has 10 top gun pilots applying for one jet fighter role but one paper they are short of one candidate with “diverse” background. Out of the lot applying 9 are highly qualified while one is slightly less qualified. But because they need to comply with the quota of meeting diversity, the less qualified get the job. Then one day during aerial combat the whole squadron got short down because the less qualified pilot lack one skill crucial for the role. Isn’t that a bit foolish?

    Your assumption is frankly bollocks, let me explain why,

    Every single person that applies to be a pilot has to meet a minimum requirement to even be considered for selection & aptitude. This will be based on a few factors: age, educational attainment, physical health, physical fitness and a rather invasive security profile. Nothing about flying yet.

    Then we get to the aptitude and selection process, this involves further in depth physical screening, and a battery of tests designed to test reasoning, judgement and many other factors. They then will move onto a very basic flying training program that is not so much about flying skill, but the ability to absorb information then carry out task, very much monkey see, monkey do. This is designed to ascertain if they have the ability to manage a certain cognitive load.

    If they get through that, they then have to go to school to learn how to be an officer in the RAF, once they pass that they then attend their flying training.

    Throughout this training there are many hurdles and points to which someone can wash out, the reality is at almost any point you can fail to meet the grade and be chopped.

    When they finally get wings, then pass their operational conversion they are all at a safe, base standard (which is incredibly **** high) have been assessed to the same standards, and even after this point have mandatory flying currencies and checks they have to complete to remain current and cleared to fly.

    So your scenario holds zero weight because you’re trying to make up a scenario that fits your angle, which is quite frankly a pile of shit.

    There is no ‘less qualified’ in the forces because we conduct the training, assess all to a required standard. The few that are recruited in already qualified are the like of Padres and Medical professionals. The latter of whom have also been through their own rigorous testing and competency process.

    theotherjonv
    Full Member

    Then one day during aerial combat the whole squadron got short down because the less qualified pilot lack one skill crucial for the role. Isn’t that a bit foolish?

    It’s the wrong example really, there’s a handful of fighter pilots in the world and they are all massively the top 0.1%. But to play the example out

    the less qualified pilot lack one skill crucial for the role.

    – no-one is suggested recruiting unqualified candidates, and in any case

    – that’s a failure of training, not of recruitment

    that’s a failure of training, not of recruitment

    Which has happened and been identified as a systemic issue due to operational pressures and/or poor leadership and maintenance of standards.

    In aviation there are many layers of supervision, so it is quite some failure by a unit for these things to happen.

    argee
    Full Member

    It’s the wrong example really, there’s a handful of fighter pilots in the world and they are all massively the top 0.1%. But to play the example out

    I know a lot of RAF/FAA Typhoon/Tornado/Lightning II/Harrier pilots and i would say you’re a little out with the 0.1%, yes a lot can fly, or navigate, or do well in the weapons seat, but lets not inflate their ego any more, especially ex Harrier pilots 😂

    I know a lot of RAF/FAA Typhoon/Tornado/Lightning II/Harrier pilots and i would say you’re a little out with the 0.1%, yes a lot can fly, or navigate, or do well in the weapons seat, but lets not inflate their ego any more, especially ex Harrier pilots 😂

    Definitely that last part. Although the F35 pilots are assuming that mantle these days.

    chewkw
    Free Member

    There is no ‘less qualified’.

    Let’s have another example, say they all passed with flying colour (all have reached the standard required) like in an exam. They all got a 1st class degree with all getting above 70% but one gets 90% but s/he is not diverse enough on paper on paper. One candidate however meet the “diverse” classification but his/her mark is only in the 70% range and get the job. Is that fair to the person who achieve 90% because the person has slightly better intellectual capacity?

    Oh ya … the principle behind your view is questionable, but time will tell if the society is heading for the better with positive discrimination.

    Let’s have another example, say they all passed with flying colour (all have reached the standard required) like in an exam. They all got a 1st class degree with all getting above 70% but one gets 90% but s/he is not diverse enough on paper on paper. One candidate however meet the “diverse” classification but his/her mark is only in the 70% range and get the job. Is that fair to the person who achieve 90% because the person has slightly better intellectual capacity?

    Oh ya … the principle behind your view is questionable, but time will tell if the society is heading for the better with positive discrimination.

    Nope. Because the degree is simply a minimum bar that demonstrates intellectual capacity, commitment, etc, the system doesn’t split hairs in who got what. Things aptitude and selection process will make that decision.

    Defence is given clear areas that it can ‘discriminate’ as you would call it, we’d call it excluding recruitment criteria, which is why applying your bias or knowledge of civilian recruitment processes here isn’t accurate.

    I’m not saying I agree, I understand why they would prioritise to try and recruit certain characteristics, I’m just saying pausing wider recruitment is a mistake because it applies pressure to an already undermanned organistion.

    But the one thing nobody seems t want to discuss is why many who the services would like to recruit don’t see it as a viable career, and is there anything that can be done about that or is there simply a degree of acceptance that needs to happen in regards to never hitting those figures?

    chewkw
    Free Member

    Nope. Because the degree is simply a minimum bar that demonstrates intellectual capacity, commitment, etc, the system doesn’t split hairs in who got what. Things aptitude and selection process will make that decision. Defence is allowed to discriminate in certain areas, which is why applying you bias or knowledge of civilian recruitment processes here isn’t accurate.

    You are missing the point.

    I am saying that the principle (positive discrimination) is wrong.

    Your logic is that once they have achieved the standard they are all capable because the job is “automated” (follow rules), so choose the one that matches the paper quota. Yes, your logic is they can perform the job as well.

    My logic is to choose the best by filtering through all of them to get the best regardless of who they are. Everyone gets equal chance regardless. If the best person meets the quote is from diverse background fine, otherwise let it be.

    Simply put whoever can get the job done best gets the job.

    You are missing the point.

    I am saying that the principle (positive discrimination) is wrong.

    Your logic is that once they have achieved the standard they are all capable because the job is “automated” (follow rules), so choose the one that matches the paper quota. Yes, your logic is they can perform the job as well.

    My logic is to choose the best by filtering through all of them to get the best regardless of who they are. Everyone gets equal chance regardless. If the best person meets the quote fine, otherwise let it be.

    That’s exactly what the recruitment, selection AND training process does. And again, ‘best’ is subjective, the correct word is suitable. I know why you’re using it because it suits your agenda, but I’m afraid you have no idea what you’re talking about. You have no clue about the process and are applying a very binary way of thinking to this.

    And once again, defence has exceptions that allow it to discriminate. I know that might shock you, but it’s not hard to understand why.

    chewkw
    Free Member

    That’s exactly what the recruitment, selection AND training process does. And again, ‘best’ is subjective, the correct word is suitable. I know why you’re using it because it suits your agenda, but I’m afraid you have no idea what you’re talking about. You have no clue about the process and are applying a very binary way of thinking to this.

    I have no agenda other than saying that positive discrimination is silly based on my experience.

    Discrimination is already bad but then trying to “balance” it out by having “positive” discrimination is really silly in my views.

    And once again, defence has exceptions that allow it to discriminate. I know that might shock you, but it’s not hard to understand why.

    Nothing shocks me so far in my life.

    As for defense being allowed to discriminate they have their reasons, but speaking in a general sense of “positive” discrimination that I find silly.

    johnnystorm
    Full Member

    I would imagine that part of the process involves weeding out the numpties who don’t get the point after having it explained to them half a dozen times.

    PJM1974
    Free Member

    This sums it up for me Eileen A. Bjorkman – a retired U.S. Air Force colonel and executive director of the Air Force Test Center.

    Pilots who graduate at the top of their class normally get to fly the hottest fighters in the inventory. But when Air Force Capt. Connie J. Engel graduated at the top of her class, in 1977, she settled for being an instructor pilot in a training aircraft.

    Also, the Captain of the nuclear carrier USS Abraham Lincoln.

    We all agree that people from minority backgrounds and women are just as capable of being fighter pilots so with that in mind, how would the RAF attract talent from outside of the public-school educated, male dominated traditional routes?

    This sums it up for me Eileen A. Bjorkman – a retired U.S. Air Force colonel and executive director of the Air Force Test Center.

    Not sure what it sums up? That doesn’t happen here. Nobody, not even men become instructors out of flying training, that path is long and requires many more hours and qualifications to even be selected.

    We all agree that people from minority backgrounds and women are just as capable of being fighter pilots so with that in mind, how would the RAF attract talent from outside of the public-school educated, male dominated traditional routes?

    That’s the million dollar question, but it’s not just about aircrew, they’re the minority in the RAF, recruiting into the variety of other roles that require in some cases minimal entry standards is proving difficult. The reality is they’re struggling to recruit enough of anyone.

    The inflow can’t match the outflow at the moment.

    argee
    Full Member

    We all agree that people from minority backgrounds and women are just as capable of being fighter pilots so with that in mind, how would the RAF attract talent from outside of the public-school educated, male dominated traditional routes?

    The RAF don’t tend to be made up of Biggles style characters anymore, i know of quite a good mix, remember there’s lots of trades in the RAF, not just fast jet pilots, and they offer a variety of scholarships, sponsorships, apprenticeships, etc to allow people from all walks of life, as long as they have the prerequisite aptitude and skill.

    chewkw
    Free Member

    I would imagine that part of the process involves weeding out the numpties who don’t get the point after having it explained to them half a dozen times.

    Let’s hope they will never experienced positive discrimination. (In the current economy climate I am not so sure)

    Nahhh … forget that. Let them experience positive discrimination and see how they feel afterward (and I don’t mean happening only once).

    ginkster
    Full Member

    This sums it up for me Eileen A. Bjorkman – a retired U.S. Air Force colonel and executive director of the Air Force Test Center.

    Sums what up? This is from the 70s and the USAF. The RAF was male only for aircrew until the early 90s. Once opened up for females there was nothing preventing them from going into combat roles (there was a slightly delay of a year or so for fast jet).

    We all agree that people from minority backgrounds and women are just as capable of being fighter pilots so with that in mind, how would the RAF attract talent from outside of the public-school educated, male dominated traditional routes?

    Females can and do make excellent fast jet pilots, but generally get lower overall pilot aptitude scores during selection. That is one of the areas that needs to be considered during recruitment or the RAF would struggle even more to select females if it simply took those with the highest aptitude. What is your source for the assertion regarding public school education? As Agree says, that is not the case. Your comments may highlight one of the big problems, people thinking the RAF is only for public school males when the reality is totally different.

    That doesn’t happen here. Nobody, not even men become instructors out of flying training

    It does happen here. They are called ‘Creamies’. It went out of fashion for a few years due to frontline pilot shortages but is back in use now.

    The reality is they’re struggling to recruit enough of anyone.

    The inflow can’t match the outflow at the moment.

    I agree with much of what you have said in this thread but this is not the case at the moment. Many trades are closed for applications and those that are open have high numbers of applications. Many branches are full, in part because Covid slowed outflow and saw a massive increase in people rejoining the Service. The big problem is in the training system and getting fresh recruits to the frontline. That position won’t last long as the job market opens back up and rejoiners contracts come to an end. Your comments will be spot on very soon!

    Then one day during aerial combat the whole squadron got short down because the less qualified pilot lack one skill crucial for the role. Isn’t that a bit foolish?

    That made me chuckle. What skill do you think would be missing during recruitment that wouldn’t have been taught during several years of training? Or resulted in the candidate not making the standard required to make the frontline?

    @ginkster fair rebuttal. I’m surprised at the ‘creamies’ We certainly don’t do that on the green side with rotary, but you lot do like to do things differently. 😉

    oldmanmtb2
    Free Member

    Once did some discrimination awareness training, the one where you all stand in a line and you get the ” this answer this question step forward” after many questions i was stood at the back with a 25 year old Nigerian fella – the instructor thought i was taking the racist piss as a bald 50 year white bloke.

    I had to take him to one side and explain my “journey”

    I think there are times when positive discrimination is required as a means to change things. Discrimination comes in many forms age, gender, education, class, accents etc. Many people suffer from it but its range is horrible.

    I was once referred to as a Geordie working class c**t to my face in a meeting… (in London) because i corrected an Oxford Educated CTO who was giving his employer (my client) some very bad advice.

    ginkster
    Full Member

    but you lot do like to do things differently better.

    FTFY! 😉😂

    FTFY! 😉😂

    Touché

    PJM1974
    Free Member

    Sums what up? This is from the 70s and the USAF. The RAF was male only for aircrew until the early 90s. Once opened up for females there was nothing preventing them from going into combat roles (there was a slightly delay of a year or so for fast jet).

    Stuff like this gets reported in the press.
    and this.

    What is your source for the assertion regarding public school education? As Agree says, that is not the case. Your comments may highlight one of the big problems, people thinking the RAF is only for public school males when the reality is totally different.

    I certainly hope so.

    In fairness, the latest update (leak) casts a darker shadow. Not looking good for RAF recruitment right now.

    But ultimately, so what if they broke the law? P&O did and nothing happened, in this case there would be some resignations (still retaining a full pension) and some other scandal would make it go away quickly.

    Would be great if people were held to account, but that’s unlikely because that’s not how we’ve engineered our society.

    PJM1974
    Free Member

    Would be great if people where held to account, but that’s unlikely.

    Yup.

    kelvin
    Full Member

    Like minded workforce tend to be more cohesive, not diverse, can get the job done quickly and everyone is happy.

    The cohesive bit comes in training (I grew up on the RAF Regiment training base in Credenhill, and heard plenty about the problems of getting white males to work as required from my dad who worked there… in one case his own brother in law was one of the squeaky wheels that needed putting straight). A cohesive force isn’t born of everyone being white and male. We’re all different you know.

    wbo
    Free Member

    ‘Nahhh … forget that. Let them experience positive discrimination and see how they feel afterward (and I don’t mean happening only once).’

    I don’t know how to read this in any way and not think less of you Chew

    The cohesive bit comes in training

    This. That’s where the ‘like mindedness’ comes from. A shared set of values and way of doing business.

    Seems the RAF may have overstepped the mark if there is any truth to the latest leaks.

    higthepig
    Free Member

    In a few years time, when a significant proportion of my Squadron are unfit to work through pregnancy or observing Ramadan, which agency do you call to get temporary staff when something kicks off and you need a response?
    It is a noble aspiration to fully reflect society, however you then do not get an armed force that you would expect and pay taxes towards.

    p.s. Creamies in other branches as well.

    p.s. Creamies in other branches as well.

    RN as well? Christ alive.

    which agency do you call to get temporary staff when something kicks off and you need a response?

    Hence an earlier statement that bums on seats is always an issue. My old unit are carrying significant gaps although they are filling some with holdees from MFTS.

    The RAF does seen to be going through a bit of a rough patch of late.

    kelvin
    Full Member

    when a significant proportion of my Squadron are unfit to work through pregnancy or observing Ramadan

    Ooo… we’re onto religion as well now are we? Can we do Jews and their religious traditions next? Xmas break leave timetabling for those stationed abroad?

    As for female recruits… well, every woman I know who has been in the RAF has at least one offspring in the forces now. So they’ve been literally growing the future work force.

    higthepig
    Free Member

    RN as well?

    Nope, RAF.

    Everywhere I go, all units are doing the same, if not more, with fewer uniformed personnel. The higher echelons not only have scrambled egg on the peak of their SD hats, but all over their faces…..

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