British Army's recruitment: from 'Be the Best' to 'Be Whoever You Want To Be'
By Daniel J. McLaughlin
The previous motto for the British Army was "Be the Best", but the armed forces are now changing their tone to entice new recruits. They are now telling potential soldiers that it is okay not to be their best, and they are figuratively putting their arm around the new troops.
The army plans to phase out its current slogan, which has been used since 1993, over concerns that it was too "elitist". Market research found that it did not "resonate" with the public, and that it was considered "dated" and "non-inclusive".
In order to be inclusive, they have launched a £1.6 million campaign to recruit more people from a diversity of genders, sexualities, ethnicities and faiths. In a series of videos posted on social media, the @BritishArmy account answers questions such as: “Can I be gay in the army?”, “What if I get emotional in the army?”, and “Can I practise my faith in the army?”
General Sir Nick Carter, head of the Army, said the campaign reflected the country's changing demography. He told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "Our society is changing and I think it is entirely appropriate for us therefore to try and reach out to a much broader base to get the talent we need in order to sustain combat effectiveness.
"What is interesting is we are now getting new types of applicant and that's why we need to adjust the approach we are using to how we nurture them into the army."
About 10 per cent of members of the armed forces are women, and 7.5 per cent come from black, Asian and ethnic minority (BAME) communities, according to the BBC.
Under the Tories, the Army dramatically reduced its size to save money in 2010, dropping from 110,000 down to 82,000, according to official figures. Current figures for Army personnel show the service has just 77,440 soldiers on its books.
The army's problem isn't with recruitment, writes Alistair Bunkall for Sky News. In 2016, 91,460 people applied to join, and last year that increased to 122,890. However, the army has a problem with retention. Between April 2016 and March 2017, 8,194 people joined but 9,775 left.
The British Army still wants the best recruits, but it is telling future soldiers that it does not matter what background or religion you are from to join the forces.