Posted November 20, 2018 10:31:57 The Australian Defence Force is struggling to find qualified recruits and the military has a shortage of personnel for critical jobs.
In a major shake-up, the army is looking to hire new recruits from overseas, as it seeks to balance the growing numbers of veterans returning to Australia.
The new recruitment drive is the latest attempt by the Defence Force to bolster its ranks.
The service has been struggling to recruit veterans from overseas since the start of the decade.
The force is still struggling to fill vacancies in its civilian defence force, with just 4,000 positions available.
The Australian government announced in December 2020 that it would increase its budget to $9.7 billion for 2019-20.
However, the announcement came with only a 10 per cent increase in funding for the Defence force.
The Army also announced a 10-year plan last year to boost the force’s strength by 4,800.
The military wants to recruit more military personnel from overseas.
In 2018-19, there were 8,000 vacancies across the Army, with vacancies at the rank of Lieutenant General and above accounting for more than 80 per cent of the vacancies.
“If we can recruit and retain more qualified candidates, it will improve our ability to deliver services to our Australian and overseas communities,” Defence Minister Michael Keenan said in a statement.
“The Department of Defence is looking at all options to ensure we have the resources to meet our obligations in the future.”
The army will be looking for recruits from outside of the United Kingdom, United States, Canada and the United States.
Those recruits will come from all over the world, but they will be chosen by the service based on their skills, work experience and education.
“This will help to ensure the Defence Forces recruitment workforce is as diverse and as well-trained as the workforce of the Commonwealth and the world at large,” Mr Keenan added.
The Defence Force said it would also be hiring overseas employees.
In addition, the service will be seeking applicants for its Reserve Forces, the most senior of the services.
The Reserve Forces are tasked with supporting the defence of Australia’s overseas territories.
The Department of Veterans Affairs said it was aware of the recruitment effort and would continue to support the service.
“We will work with the service to ensure that all qualified applicants are properly vetted,” the agency said in an email to the ABC.
“All recruits to the Reserve Forces will be offered the opportunity to apply and to be considered for a position within the Defence Department.”
The Reserve Force has been a source of concern to the service for years.
The organisation’s chief executive, Michael Mersch, resigned last year amid concerns about the organisation’s lack of resources.
In December 2018, the Defence Ministry said it had a “significant backlog” of recruits from abroad.
The minister said the service was taking the issue seriously.
“I think we need to take a hard look at the recruiting of people from overseas,” Mr Mersc said.
“So I think we’ve got a serious backlog and I’m going to do everything I can to try and find out how we can get our workforce together in a way that allows us to do the job that we’re best at.”
Defence Force staff members will also have to take part in a training course to get more familiar with foreign languages.
The move comes amid concerns the military is failing to recruit enough veterans to fill critical jobs in the force.
Veterans Affairs Minister Kate Ellis said in 2018-20 the service had about 7,000 people who were veterans, but that was expected to grow.
The government announced the changes in September.
“Our recruitment strategy is designed to ensure our Defence Force maintains a skilled workforce of soldiers who will support our national security interests,” Ms Ellis said.