Military Recruiting Outlook

Recent Trends in Enlistment Propensity and Conversion of Potential Enlisted Supply

by Bruce R. Orvis, Narayan Sastry, Laurie L. McDonald

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This report describes recruiting trends through early 1995, focusing on changes in youth enlistment propensity and the Army's ability to "convert" the potential supply of recruits into actual enlistments. Using updated survey data and methods of analyzing propensity, it concludes that the potential supply of recruits remains higher in FY95 than it was during 1989, when recruiting results were good. However, the latest survey results indicate some downturn in youth interest in military service. When that downturn is coupled with the large increase in accession requirements during FY96 and FY97, the ratio of supply to demand for high-quality enlistees could fall short of its predrawdown levels. Furthermore, survey data show a drop in the rate at which potential high-quality recruits discuss military service with key "influencers" (such as family and friends) and fewer contacts between recruiters and high school students (perhaps due to cuts in numbers of recruiters, their reduced presence in high schools, or a shift in focus from current students to graduates). Taken together, these results suggest future difficulties in meeting accession goals, which should be countered by increases in recruiting resources such as advertising, educational benefits, and recruiters.

Table of Contents

  • Chapter One

    Introduction

  • Chapter Two

    Propensity Analysis of Potential Supply

  • Chapter Three

    Conversion of Potential Supply

  • Chapter Four

    Summary and Recommendations

  • Appendix A

    Youth Attitude Tracking Study

  • Appendix B

    Other Datasets Used in the Analysis

The research described in this report was sponsored by the United States Army and by the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD) under RAND's National Defense Research Institute, a federally funded research and development center supported by the OSD, the Joint Staff, and the defense agencies.

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