Recruitment Is Doing Well. The Military Reports Record Numbers

 25. 01. 2021      category: Army of the Czech Republic

Despite the coronavirus pandemic (or perhaps because of the coronavirus pandemic), the interest in service to the homeland has increased, exceeding the originally expected figures for 2020. The number of civil servants in the Ministry of Defence is also growing, while the number of government employees has decreased.

nabor_2020Picture: Despite the coronavirus pandemic (or perhaps because of the coronavirus pandemic), the interest in service to the homeland has increased, exceeding the originally expected figures for 2020. (illustrative photo) | army.cz

If we look at the latest published numbers in the development of the number of people in the Ministry of Defence of the Czech Republic, we will find that in ten years the army has almost half more generals, specifically 31 now compared to 22 in 2010. And more can be expected in October. The number of professional soldiers has also increased from 22,261 in 2010 to today’s 26,621. The number of civil servants has fallen sharply, but this is offset by the state service.

pocet_osob_01Picture: Development of actual numbers of persons in the Ministry of Defence of the Czech Republic in the years 2010 - 2020 | army.cz

Let’s focus on the total figures from the table above for last year. We find out that the army has 31 generals as has been mentioned, 2,285 senior officers, i.e. officers in the rank of major and more, 4,103 junior officers, 8,161 chief warrant officers, 9,075 non-commissioned officers, 1,234 soldiers of the ranks, i.e. the lowest ranks of common soldiers and lance corporals, 1,258 soldiers of the preparatory corps and 474 soldiers available. The Ministry of Defence has a total of 34,771 people, including soldiers, state and civilian employees.

Reserves are also doing well. In 2010 there were 1,098 reservists, in 2015 there were 1,259 reservists, and in 2020 it was already 3,440 reservists, which is 204 more than in the previous year. The reserves thus succeed in meeting their obligations and the service is certainly benefited by the possibility of the so-called voluntary training, which is practically identical to the classic training by the Basic Training Course in Vyškov.

Record interest in the position of a professional soldier was reported by military recruiters already at the beginning of August last year, when the standard was already met and the trainers reported full capacity. There were about ten people interested in the service per one soldier recruited. Increased interest in military service may be due, among other things, to the current job insecurity in the time of the coronavirus pandemic. 

“Recruitment is great, during this year people’s interest in joining the army has increased significantly,” said Army General Aleš Opata, Chief of the General Staff of the Army of the Czech Republic, in August 2020. He saw that the increased interest in the position of professional soldier during the coronavirus may be mainly because the army offers a stable environment, order and fixed benefits. “While in 2019 the Human Resources Agency received 1,810 applications in the same period, in 2020 it was already 3,631,” said the spokesperson of the General Staff, Colonel Magdalena Dvořáková, adding: ”Roughly 30 percent of applicants do not pass the health and physical tests, and another up to 15 percent fail the receiver and end in probationary period. So there has to be ten candidates registered for one accepted person,” she said. It is also necessary to take into account that many soldiers retire every year or leave the army. 

In connection with the above-mentioned recruitment results, we asked the Adviser to the Chief of the General Staff of the Army of the Czech Republic, Brigadier General Mgr. Lenka Šmerdová a few questions.

1) General, according to the numbers, recruiters are doing well. Why do you think there was such an interest in the ACR service in the past year and what do you focus on in recruitment issues this year?

I would say that the interest in military service still persists. The military is an attractive, responsible and reliable employer and has been the most trusted institution in the eyes of the public for some time. In connection with the current crisis, the soldiers as well as medics, firefighters and police officers are more visible and more heard about nowadays. The army has also become an institution where those interested can find social security in these uncertain times. The army is open to young people, people who are not afraid of demands, responsibilities, sometimes even discomfort and who want to work on themselves.

We have been recruiting for this year since about mid-September last year. The first basic training course, which starts on 1 February, is full and we are already directing applicants for the starting date in May. For 2021, the recruitment target was set at 1,610 people, and I believe that, given the number of applicants, we will fulfil this task. At present, in addition to replenishing military units, we pay considerable attention to the recruitment of those interested in studying at the University of Defence and its three faculties, the Military Department of FTVS UK, as well as the military high school in Moravská Třebová and its branch in Sokolov.

2) We can often come across recruitment advertisements, for example, on the social networks of individual departments of the Czech Armed Forces or in the army monthly A report. What specific positions are failing to be filled and what can be done about it?

We lack helicopter pilots, and drivers with Group C driving licenses across all departments. We would also like to recruit cyber specialists, as well as air ground personnel and there mainly logisticians, mechanics, guards. Those interested will find the current offer on our website kariera.army.cz, and if they are determined to become soldiers and do something about it, all they have to do is register from the comfort of their home and our recruiters will guide them through the selection process. Every citizen of the Czech Republic can be recruited if they have reached the age of 18, are criminally innocent, medically fit, have at least an apprenticeship certificate, are not a member of a political party and succeed in the selection. 

3) Are there any departments that have a certain priority in the ACR in the field of recruitment? For example, what about the new airborne regiment?

We would like to strengthen the artillery in Jince, the air-defence unit in Strakonice, the mechanized units in Žatec and Tábor, but also the Castle Guard. We will continue to replenish the airborne regiment. 

4) The number of members of the Active Reserves is also increasing. What are the other goals in this area and can you expect a growing tendency for reservists to move to the position of professional soldier?

The interest in the service in the active reserves units is considerable, and in this area we met last year’s recruitment goal and accepted more than 600 newcomers. There is also interest in voluntary military trainings. Despite the current epidemiological situation. Those interested welcome the fact that they can give the training a try, so to speak.  Some of them become reservists and some become professional soldiers. Last year, 70 reservists decided to serve as professional soldiers. This year we plan to accept 750 new AR members.

 Author: Martin Šiška