Skill shortages in the Armed Forces Contents


The Armed Forces need sufficient skilled personnel to meet the Government’s defence objectives and respond to the rapidly changing threats to the UK. The Ministry of Defence (the Department) is considering the capabilities and skills needed within the Armed Forces to meet these threats. However, in January 2018 it had 137,300 trained regulars, 8,200 (or 5.7%) fewer than it needed, and it will increasingly need more regulars with technical and digital skills. It faces external competition to recruit and retain the specialist skills that it needs at a time when it is already managing significant financial pressures. In 2016–17, the Department spent £9.6 billion on military personnel, which is 27% of the overall defence budget. Economic, social, cultural and demographic changes within the United Kingdom also mean that the Department must think differently about how it recruits and retains personnel. It therefore faces significant challenges in developing the skilled personnel it needs to meet the future ambitions for the Armed Forces and exploit its investment in new equipment.

Published: 12 September 2018