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

    all units are doing the same, if not more, with fewer uniformed personnel

    Do more with fewer people… been that way for a while now, no? And getting worse…

    https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2021/mar/22/uk-army-navy-and-raf-all-to-be-cut-back-defence-review-confirms

    higthepig
    Free Member

    Ooo… we’re onto religion as well now are we?

    The comment about Ramadan was based on my experience of personnel being declared unfit to work due to the dietary and limited rest they are able to achieve during that period. Also spending 6 months attached to an Arab nation in conflict, that resulted in a substantial degradation in their operational effectiveness.
    If you are serving, you will no doubt know that Operation Deny Christmas kicks in almost every year!

    J

    Do more with fewer people… been that way for a while now, no? And getting worse…

    There is an aspiration to change that. The RU/UKR conflict has been a bit of a wake up call.

    And the comments about pregnancy/religious absence have merit. It’s right and proper that people’s needs are accommodated and are given the time they require (by law or moral obligation), but the MOD has a responsibility to ensure that thw gaps can be covered to ensure operational capability isn’t affected

    The failing isn’t an individual one or ‘pandering’ to people, it’s simply failing to take into account the impact of those occurrences and having the capability to absorb the workload efficiently.

    Something they’re **** terrible at. It contributes to why people leave. But it does get spun down to an individual level rather than a criticism of the system failing its people and pushing undermanned units to breaking point.

    theotherjonv
    Full Member

    The comment about Ramadan was based on my experience of personnel being declared unfit to work due to the dietary and limited rest they are able to achieve during that period

    That might be true but in most cases can be accommodated in a training setting. In an operational setting then a soldier can break their fast and make the days up at another time.

    higthepig
    Free Member

    That might be true but in most cases can be accommodated in a training setting. In an operational setting then a soldier can break their fast and make the days up at another time.

    Not everyone trains on every RAF unit, some safety critical roles such as Air Traffic Control or engineering would not and therefore it does have in impact on output and may affect training for others.
    As for fast breaking, not in my experience of the UK or the Middle East, but then you state ‘soldier’, I stopped working with the Army 10 years ago and your experience may be more up to date than mine.

    Army here. Same on ops, but even in the training/BAU environment it can be a challenge. Especially within certain rank cohorts as the numbers start to thin so work simply has to be asborbwd by those already managing teams and tasks that need all their capacity.

    Unlike civilian orgs, we can’t just employ someone on a FTC to fill roles.

    The solution could be within the reserve forces but that’s a whole other discussion.

    But again, for clarity the issue is not one for individuals to be blamed, but a system that has removed all the flexibility out of itself.

    inkster
    Free Member

    It’s ‘The Right Stuff’ argument isn’ t it? A presumption that what is required is based on what went before.

    The RAF, much like the Army operates within the class system and is rather antiquated. Public school officers abound, their training starting on the cricket grounds of all ‘the best’ schools.

    In WW2 the divide between the officer class pilots and the seargent pilots was huge and extremely problematic. The more experienced officer class pilots didnt pass on what they had learned to the new intake, particularly alligning guns to converge at 50 metres rather than the 300 metres dictated in training manual. Many were more interested in keeping cricket scores.

    In the event of hostilities, the Polish pilots out performed their British counterparts by a rate of 3 to 1. I guess you only find out who has ‘the right stuff’ when the bullets start flying for real.

    Questioning the drive for diversity presupposes that the forces are a meritocracy when in fact they are the sector that most represents the antiquated and pernicious class system that operates in this country, (present government excepted.)

    So how do you explain working class lads & lasses joining at 18 at pte (or service equivalents) and dropping out in the 40s as commissioned officers?

    The Army still has NCO pilots who command aircraft over officers.

    Any more out of date examples you want to pull up to demonstrate what you think you know that you could write on a postage stamp with space ledt for war and peace?

    They’re not perfect orgs, but none are. They’re inhabited by the same sorts of people in every other org up and down the country.

    These days rank is about more about accountability and responsibility that historical purchased commissions, but again no different to hierarchies in many other orgs.

    Many things have changed that flip the WW2 way of doing business on its head. Not perfect, but not as outdated as you think.

    ginkster
    Full 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?

    That is exactly the outdated, white male orientated view the seniors are trying to eradicate. The same old argument that was used when flying was opened up to females. The lack of depth to cover gaps is the issue, not the gender or religion (or any other aspect) of the person causing the gap. The same issue exists when the white male is ill, deployed, leave etc.

    Everywhere I go, all units are doing the same, if not more, with fewer uniformed personnel.

    That is nothing new and has been happening since the end of WW2 as the Service has continuously decreased in numbers. Options for Change and Frontline First where classic examples from 30 odd years ago. The last SDSR didn’t help, introducing more shiny kit (or keeping stuff that was due out of service) without an equal uplift in personnel to operate it. None of that has anything to do with trying to increase diversity though.

    ginkster
    Full Member

    The RAF, much like the Army operates within the class system and is rather antiquated. Public school officers abound, their training starting on the cricket grounds of all ‘the best’ schools.

    Er, nope. Not since about the 1940-50s.

    That is nothing new and has been happening since the end of WW2 as the Service has continuously decreased in numbers

    I’d only argue the increasing tech and training burden increases those impacts. My mob transitioned from generalist ground troops to specialists and it’s been a bloody nightmare to manage, but that’s the job and the need.

    But as you say, laxk of depth is issue not one of individuals or diversity. The longest absence I’ve had to manage was injury, and due to the individuals role there was no fill for 18 months.

    No idea what value the RAF auxiliary provides but the Army reserve isn’t that effective when that should be its primary function.

    higthepig
    Free Member

    That is exactly the outdated, white male orientated view the seniors are trying to eradicate.

    Excellent assumption there and if you are serving, you are OoD D&I training because I am not.

    The lack of depth to cover gaps is the issue, not the gender or religion (or any other aspect) of the person causing the gap.

    Which is the exactly my point. If I have 10 personnel working for me and some are off due to pregnancy or due to religious observance, who covers the gaps, the few that are left because now the laydown of the workforce has fundamentally changed.

    beaker
    Full Member

    I cant help but feel that if people from ethnic minorities feel that a career in the military is not for them in this day of diversity and inclusion policies with endless advertising on TV and social media then all the positive discrimination in the world probably won’t help. Is it a cultural thing?

    stingmered
    Full Member

    some are off due to pregnancy or due to religious observance

    Wow. Just wow.

    chewkw
    Free Member

    Is it a cultural thing?

    Religion (assuming part of culture) does not prevent anyone from carrying out their duties (based on my research). If a person misses their prayer etc they can do that again at a time when they are off duty. For example, this is an example only, if I pray 2 times a day say in the morning and in the evening, but due my duty in the morning I can do that morning prayer in the afternoon then one in the evening. Now, common sense dictates that, assuming I am in the army, if bullets are flying around all over me and I insist on having that prayer time rigidly, then in an unlucky situation I might be “called home” sooner than I expect. Who is to blame? Me, myself and I. Having said that some would insist on their religious duty rigidly and that is a problem.

    ginkster
    Full Member

    Excellent assumption there and if you are serving, you are OoD D&I training because I am not.

    I didn’t say you were (I’m assuming you mean white male rather than in date D&I!). It’s the view I’m talking about and it doesn’t matter who has that view. The Services were very much white, male, Christian oriented. Some view it that the RAF should remain one or all of those. Or others looking to join think you have to be one or all of those to join. Both positions are outdated.

    Which is the exactly my point. If I have 10 personnel working for me and some are off due to pregnancy or due to religious observance, who covers the gaps, the few that are left because now the laydown of the workforce has fundamentally changed.

    You intimate that males and some religions are never off work causing gaps. Why is being off for pregnancy or religious observance any more of an issue than deployment, illness, paternity leave, compassionate leave etc? It’s a gap and those left regardless of gender or region have to cover it until (hopefully one day!) the RAF has more redundancy built into the personnel numbers. You never know but the person ‘off’ for Ramadan might cover those pesky Easter and Christmas duties for those that are away then!

    No idea what value the RAF auxiliary provides but the Army reserve isn’t that effective when that should be its primary function.

    I’ve seen it work well in some areas such as int, ops or medics but it’s not as seamless or widely available as it could/should be. I can’t imagine the current wider workforce shortages will help as civvy employers will be more reluctant to release people.

    some would insist on their religious duty rigidly and that is a problem.

    In 24 years, 6 operational deployments this has never happened in a unit I’ve been a part of, nor have I heard it as such.

    Again with your made up scenarios.

    chewkw
    Free Member

    In 24 years, 6 operational deployments this has never happened in a unit I’ve been a part of, nor have I heard it as such.

    Again with your made up scenarios.

    “For example, this is an example only, …” Perhaps, I should use the term “assumption” or “not real” otherwise you lot keep thinking all the examples are real?

    Perhaps this does not happen in the UK army or RAF or Navy but certainly happened in other places of work I experienced.

    p/s: this is real … once long time ago I was working with a UK bureaucratic company and was in charged of recruiting new staff for my team. During the recruitment process I was told by the bigger boss that I should select certain “diverse” (to fill the quota to look good) candidate(s). However, I objected because the candidate did not meet all the “requirements” but I was out voted and ended with a candidate that lack the necessary maturity to carry out the job. Half way through the candidate was fired and we had to start the recruiting process again … happened a few times. Then one day the big boss was fired. LOL!

    kelvin
    Full Member

    Were they also hiring less experienced/mature candidates against advice to try and keep the wage bill down?

    But yeah, forces recruitment (and importantly training) will be quite different to that unnamed company.

    chewkw
    Free Member

    Were they also hiring less experienced/mature candidates against advice to try and keep the wage bill down?

    TBH I don’t know because they did not tell me and I did not want to know.

    PJM1974
    Free Member

    Having said that some would insist on their religious duty rigidly and that is a problem.

    Citation please to support this assertion.

    “For example, this is an example only, …” Perhaps, I should use the term “assumption” or “not real” otherwise you lot keep thinking all the examples are real?

    “Here’s a scenario that I just made up because I absolutely HAVE to comment on this thread”

    p/s: this is real … once long time ago I was working with a UK bureaucratic company and was in charged of recruiting new staff for my team. During the recruitment process I was told by the bigger boss that I should select certain “diverse” (to fill the quota to look good) candidate(s).

    I’m not sure that this actually happened as you describe. A “UK bureaucratic company” sounds legit (not).

    higthepig
    Free Member

    ginkster,

    The lack of depth to cover gaps is the issue, not the gender or religion (or any other aspect) of the person causing the gap.

    It wasn’t my intent to intimate that, I’m probably not putting my argument forward clearly. Imagine a squadron of mixed sexes, once confirmed to be pregnant, the female loses her flying medical category and is confined to ground duties, post birth add maternity leave, it is a considerable time before they can assume flying duties (if they wish to). Whilst off flying duties, others have to pick up the slack (assuming there is capacity to do that), therefore the effectiveness of the squadron is reduced. For Air Traffic, Fighter Control and engineering, some of the exec roles are fundamental to the running of that org and you cannot parachute people in to fill easily. For eng, once pregnant, they are put onto light duties, not allowed to work with petrol, oils and lubricants, therefore someone has to cover the duties. Yes, males do out of areas (like all others), Career Managers try to send them at the end of tour, so that there is no disturbance to the losing unit. For a flying sqn, it is highly unlikely that someone would be sent as a individual augmentee mid-tour. I get your point about illness/compassionate leave, the issue is you cannot reasonably expect it to occur and is an inevitability of the human race.

    I get your hope that one day the RAF will have more redundancy to cover this, however I think that is wholly unlikely as we do more (or as much as now) with even fewer.

    Chewkw mentioned about religious insistence, I have seen this twice, not UK military, but another nation, who military refused to operate during a certain religious observance.

    grimep
    Free Member

    Labour’s 2010 Equality Act made something it calls “Positive Action” (roughly equivalent to “Affirmative Action” in the USA) legal. This seems somewhat open to abuse.

    “… positive action provisions mean that it is not unlawful to recruit or promote a candidate who is of equal merit to another candidate, if the employer reasonably thinks the candidate:
    • has a protected characteristic that is underrepresented in the workforce; or
    • that people with that characteristic suffer a disadvantage connected to that characteristic”

    ginkster
    Full Member

    @higthepig

    ‘Wow. Just wow’ (to quote someone above)!

    I’m hoping it’s because you are ‘not putting your argument clearly’, because otherwise what I read is that you discriminate against someone because of their sex, something they had no choice in, just in case they might decide to have a child and inconvenience you. I find that truly staggering. A great example why we have to change. Personally, I find it an honour to help cover for a mate and colleague while they are building their family.

    Imagine a squadron of mixed sexes

    No imagination required. It’s been a reality since the early 90s and the RAF is better for it. It might shock you but many of the best operators and nicest people I have worked with are female. Not bad given the huge under representation of females in the RAF.

    Chewkw mentioned about religious insistence, I have seen this twice, not UK military, but another nation, who military refused to operate during a certain religious observance.

    An irrelevance as it’s not the UK. What they chose to do is up to them. I have never seen it happen here, including with guests from the nations you are hinting at.

    Andy_B
    Full Member

    I would like for recruiters / policy makers to acknowledge that the classrooms of years ago weren’t full of a diverse group of students (for whatever reasons) so you can’t expect to easily fill positions requiring years of experience with a particularly diverse group.

    Diversity in my team has been great help in covering the various religious holidays (just one example) but it’s about filling roles with the best candidate. I feel that some places have gone for a bit more box ticking and a bit less merit in recent years.

    PJM1974
    Free Member

    No imagination required. It’s been a reality since the early 90s and the RAF is better for it. It might shock you but many of the best operators and nicest people I have worked with are female. Not bad given the huge under representation of females in the RAF.

    I really enjoyed reading this account from someone who was in action flying Tornado GR4 jets over Iraq.

    PJM1974
    Free Member

    It wasn’t my intent to intimate that, I’m probably not putting my argument forward clearly. Imagine a squadron of mixed sexes, once confirmed to be pregnant, the female loses her flying medical category and is confined to ground duties, post birth add maternity leave, it is a considerable time before they can assume flying duties (if they wish to). Whilst off flying duties, others have to pick up the slack (assuming there is capacity to do that), therefore the effectiveness of the squadron is reduced.

    Statutory Maternity Leave is 39 weeks (poorly paid) weeks, with an additional 13 weeks unpaid.

    Male pilots also take paternity leave.

    chrismac
    Full Member

    Personally, I find it an honour to help cover for a mate and colleague while they are building their family.

    personally I find it a right royal pita. Having to do extra work to cover off the lifestyle choices of other colleagues is a huge problem. I would love to be able to walk away from work for 13 weeks on full pay to pursue my chosen lifestyle

    PJM1974
    Free Member

    personally I find it a right royal pita. Having to do extra work to cover off the lifestyle choices of other colleagues is a huge problem. I would love to be able to walk away from work for 13 weeks on full pay to pursue my chosen lifestyle

    Your anger toward people who have the audacity to reproduce is misdirected – your employer is responsible for providing parental leave cover. Secondly, have you heard about Shared Parental Leave?

    ginkster
    Full Member

    I really enjoyed reading this account from someone who was in action flying Tornado GR4 jets over Iraq.


    @PJM1974
    you would enjoy Mandy’s book too.

    PJM1974
    Free Member

    PJM1974 you would enjoy Mandy’s book too.

    Thank you, it’s definitely on my list. I make a point of following Hushkit too.

    Statutory Maternity Leave is 39 weeks (poorly paid) weeks, with an additional 13 weeks unpaid.

    Not in defence. It’s full pay.

    I would like for recruiters / policy makers to acknowledge that the classrooms of years ago weren’t full of a diverse group of students (for whatever reasons) so you can’t expect to easily fill positions requiring years of experience with a particularly diverse group.

    Again for those that couldn’t be arsed to read the thread, defence on the whole doesn’t employ people with existing experience.

    There a group, professionally qualified officers PQOs,(doctors/padres as examples) but the majority are recruited from leaver age or uni applying for roles that the service will train them for.

    theotherjonv
    Full Member

    I would like for recruiters / policy makers to acknowledge that the classrooms of years ago weren’t full of a diverse group of students (for whatever reasons) so you can’t expect to easily fill positions requiring years of experience with a particularly diverse group.

    I acknowledge that. Not enough was done for D&I in the past and we are where we are, and unless we act to redress that then it won’t change. That might mean not recruiting the ‘technically’ best for the role, but that’s a price I’m OK with for the bigger picture and other benefits that diversity brings.

    [speaking as an industrial recruiter, I know services is a different process]

    PJM1974
    Free Member

    Not in defence. It’s full pay.

    And?

    kerley
    Free Member

    If you don’t do something about dealing with privilege then nothing will ever happen. Most of the methods of doing so will upset the privileged as they feel they are losing out but they will never lose out as much as the less privileged due to their head start (which they have done nothing to actually have)

    Surely all recruitment is discriminatory? Otherwise, you’d employ the first person who walked through the door

    Yep. I have recruited a good number of people over the years and as much as trying to make it objective as possible (testing, standard questions/scoring etc,.) a lot off it still comes down to subjective ‘do I like this person’, ‘will this person fit with team’, ‘will this person improve team in some way (diversity)’

    piemonster
    Full Member

    The RAF, much like the Army operates within the class system and is rather antiquated. Public school officers abound, their training starting on the cricket grounds of all ‘the best’ schools.

    Anecdotal but, I’ve met a handful of Forces trained rotary pilots (now working commercially) and none of them fit the Biggles profile.

    Bit of a longshot question, does anyone know how effective the Air Cadets are at leading Cadets into service?

    piemonster
    Full Member

    Your anger toward people who have the audacity to reproduce is misdirected

    I might have missed something somewhere, but I’m not seeing “anger” in the post you responded too.

    Frustration seems more likely.

    theotherjonv
    Full Member

    Likewise, it’s not particularly anger. It’s not empathy either though, let’s be fair.

    nickc
    Full Member

    Whilst off flying duties, others have to pick up the slack (assuming there is capacity to do that), therefore the effectiveness of the squadron is reduced

    Given the current realities of how much flying, individual postings, and the positive ratio of aircrew to aircraft, I really can’t see the temporary loss of one aircrew affecting effectiveness of a sqn over much (if at all)

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