Recruitment | 'Insulting' recruitment drive calls for 'snowflake' millennials

'Insulting' recruitment drive calls for 'snowflake' millennials

The UK Army has divided opinion with a recruitment campaign aimed at getting new recruits from the ‘the snowflake generation’.

The campaign riffs on First World War recruitment posters in which Lord Kitchener, the war minister at that time, pointed at the poster’s observer, with a banner underneath reading ‘your country needs you.’

Its recruitment gambit is to spin negative stereotypes of millennials – binge gamers, phone zombies, me me me millennials, and selfie addicts – into skillsets that the target audience might think they could offer to the army.

For example, 'phone zombies' are told the army needs their focus. 'Selfie addicts' are told that the army needs their confidence.

However, not everyone thinks it is such a good idea.

Furthermore, Stephen Cuppello, Senior Psychologist at Thomas International, a psychometric assessment firm, told Recruitment Grapevine that this type of recruitment merely parroted 'unevidenced' stereotypes.

He said: "The labelling of generations has in part been fuelled by management training fads, advice, business books et al which have been sold on the back of them. As a result, great swathes of our workforce have been given a generational stamp simply as a result of being born within a set time period.

"These labels all assume that people born within a similar historical timeframe hold the same experiences, values and traits, yet there’s little evidence to support such a notion."

"In fact, on the contrary, our research into the generational divide, which compared the behavioural styles of one such group, Millennials, with the rest of the workforce, underscores the short-sightedness of such generational stereo-typing. It found that there are no significant differences between Millennials and other groups."

However, this new recruitment campaign might be born of the need to try new ideas - and try them quickly. The army is currently having to overcome a long-term recruitment crisis that led to a 5,000 shortfall in hires.

They also believe that there are several significant barriers to recruiting successfully. These including failure to recruit from younger people, the army’s traditional recruitment base.

A separate analysis of public support for the UK’s armed services found that, while most people hold military personnel in high regard, there is little support for the recent missions in Iraq and Afghanistan. These are two wars which were highly visible during the adolescence of today’s intended army recruitment targets - the millennial demographic.

Both Capita, the outsourcing firm, and the army have accepted fault in their failure to hit service recruitment targets in every year since 2012. Five years of failed recruitment goals at an average of 30%.

To compound issues, the army’s new online recruitment system was launched 52 months later than expected.

Since March 2018, the army has been reassessing its recruitment strategy.

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