October 1, 2015

Royal Navy finding it Difficult to Recruit Submariners

Life on a Royal Australian Navy submarine.

US Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Andrew Crandall describes his job as a fire control technician on the USS Montpelier SSN,

In 2010 UK TWOSIX.tv presenter Kate McIntyre visited HMS Torbay (an SSN) to take a look at the roles and life on board a Royal Navy submarine and to talk to submariners and their families

Perhaps all navies (except the US Navy) have trouble recruiting and retaining submariners. 
James Dunn, for MailOnline, via Daily Mail Australia, August 23, 2015, reports http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3207736/Youngsters-don-t-want-serve-Royal-Navy-submarines-t-log-Facebook-waves.html

Youngsters don't want to serve on Royal Navy submarines because they can't log on to Facebook while under the waves

•   Submariners spend up to 90 days under water on tours lasting up to a year
•   It's a problem for the Navy which saw 1,740 sailors quit early in 12 months
•   Consultants helping recruit says people now want better work life balance
•   Submariner role asks too big a lifestyle change for social media generation

The Royal Navy is struggling to recruit young people as they are no longer willing to tolerate the isolation of underwater life.

It's part of a wider trend that has seen all the armed forces struggling to meet recruitment targets as the social media generation expect more from their employers.

The news has emerged as part of research by PA Consulting which has been trying to help the Royal Navy tackle its staff shortages.

Nick Chaffey, head of defence consulting, told The Sunday Telegraph that society has moved faster than we think over the last few decades. 'For example, the fact that if you are a submariner, you are locked in a tin can under the water and that's it for at least a considerable chunk of time.

'The fact that you are disconnected from the world wide web and Twitter is actually a significant barrier to recruiting young people.

'You have got a disconnect between the needs of the role, and potentially the excitement of the role and the expectation and demands of the next generation of employee.'

The firm claims that young people now expect more from their employers, change jobs more often and look for a better work life balance.

Its led to a slowing in recruitment and swathes of soldiers, sailors and airmen leaving the ranks which has meant numbers have dipped below the government's downsizing target of 82,000 three years before the deadline.

This is despite multi-million pounds media campaigns to attract new recruits.

Submariners can expect to spend up to 90 days underwater at a time but tours can last nearly a yer, with six and a half months spent submerged.

In the Navy, 1,740 sailors quit early in the last 12 months,  higher rate than in the Army or RAF.
Mr Chaffey said it is becoming increasingly difficult to attract bright young people when they are expected to make such a drastic change to their lifestyle." see WHOLE ARTICLE



Vigilis said...

Hi Pete

Regarding recruiting woes in the U.S. Submarine Force, specifics are a matter of national security and not blogger discussion.

The USN has said there are recruiting difficulties in connection with obtaining sufficient numbers of nuclear trained officers (this rationale was used to justify opening the service to women in 2010). However, a contemporaneous naval communication contradicted the official pronouncement by indicating reassignment of newly graduated male submarine officer to surface vessels to allow assignment of female officers to subs. At last check, the contradictory public document had been removed, making my embedded link void.

This past May, however, I found a startling public indication that a general US Navy recruiting shortfall is likely anticipated. Your blog tells me why it is navy-wide versus only subs. Consider the attrition rate of women serving aboard our nuclear aircraft carriers (hardly as many privations as submariners face, but hard for men and women of marriageable ages to justify nevertheless.

This links to an apparently incredible increase in upcoming US Navy recruiting expenditures. http://aquilinefocus.blogspot.com/2015/05/thursday-submarine-tidbits-28-may-2015.html



Peter Coates said...

Hi Vigilis

I'm under the open source impression that the RAN recruits submariners from men and some women who already have several years in the RAN and sometimes a decade+ in the RN. So hopefully recruitment advertising is not a cash bonanza for corporations. However paying crew extra to retain them has been a constant problem as they frequently have the right psychology and technical skills for the sometimes higher payed mining industry. Both the mining industry and Fleet (including sub) Base West are roughly in the same area of Western Australia.

I haven't seen any news about how the few women per sub are fairing. Missions may be far less than 6 months hopefully.

Your http://aquilinefocus.blogspot.com/2015/05/thursday-submarine-tidbits-28-may-2015.html certainly indicates how problems can arise. Here's hoping that the new Defence Minister doesn't decide to make a cause about submarine crews as this may only place in the news what should not be in the news.



Peter Coates said...

I couldn't publish a comment from elsewhere - as it provided a bit too much information about submarine ops of an allied navy...


Anonymous said...

Hi Pete

As reference, I introduce the treatment of submariner by JMSDF [1]. Payment of submariner is highest in JMSDF.

1) Example of payment of submariner (leading seaman after 5 year of service, 6 pay-grade, 100yen=1.177$)
1-1)Monthly income 305,921yen (3,600$) = basic payment(206,200yen (2,426$))[2] + submariner perquisite(93,821yen (1,104$))[3] + voyage perquisite(2426yen (29$)) [2,3]

1-2)Annual income: 4,868,000yen (57,360$)

2)Working arrangements [4]
2-1) On berthing: 8am-5pm
2-2) On sailing: 3hours-work, 6hours-rest, 3hours-work, 6hours-rest

1-3)Retirement money in the case of 5years-service: 2,258,000yen (26,615$) [4]

[2] Submariner perquisite is 45.5% of basic payment
[3] 10 days-voyage per month
[4] JMSDF memberl


Peter Coates said...

Hi S

Thanks for the figures.

It seems Australian submariners are paid more - about 100,000 Australian dollars (57,000 basic salary + high allowances] after several years. see http://www.defencejobs.gov.au/navy/submariners/pay.aspx

Australian pay rose steeply in about 2008 to compete with job offers from the then booming mining industry.