Low western military recruitment having a knock-on effect to space industry hiring, says GlobalData

Following the release of the US Space Force’s new recruitment ad;

Madeline Wild, Associate Defense Analyst at GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company, offers her view on Western military recruitment issues:

“The advert’s ‘Space is hard’ message may suggest some of the technological barriers the industry has and must overcome to pull off successful missions, but it also highlights that it is not just technology that is challenging the US Space Force. The Space Force needs to recruit people that are physically and mentally prepared for the role.

“Recruitment continues to be an issue for various militaries in Western nations due to the levels of eligible applicants continuing to fall. Rising obesity and mental health issues in 16–24-year-olds are making more and more applicants ineligible for recruitment. The US Department of Defense (DoD) has estimated that only 2% of 17-21-year-olds have all of the desired characteristics, including wanting to serve.

“Space Force recruiters have novelty and intrigue on their side – with applicants drawn to the excitement of the space domain rather than to traditional Earth-based activities. Gen. Jay Raymond, Chief of Space Operations, last year told press that there were more applicants than vacancies. Despite this, it is important to note that Space Force Guardians are being recruited from existing personnel in the Air Force, Army and Navy, with less of a focus on gaining new civilian recruits. If recruitment does not pick up across the Armed Forces, there is likely to be a knock-on effect across the department, potentially also reaching the Space Force.

“COVID-19 may have one benefit to Armed Forces recruitment however, as unemployment levels rose substantially in 2020. In the recent past, difficulties in recruitment had been blamed on the strength of the job market and the low levels of unemployment in young people. GlobalData figures show that the unemployment rate in the US for 15-24-year-olds rose from 8.3% in 2019 to 14.8% in 2020.”

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