UK Armed Forces Incentivisation in 2035 and beyond

Flag of the United Kingdom on a military uniform, photo by Bumble Dee/Adobe Stock.

Photo by Bumble Dee/Adobe Stock

What is the issue?

UK Defence faces an uncertain and rapidly developing environment which is changing requirements for recruitment, retention and management of the Armed Forces. This includes:

  • Rapid pace of technological change and requirements for Defence to effectively exploit technological innovation
  • Changing nature of Defence roles and operations, e.g., increasing engagement of Defence in humanitarian assistance and disaster relief
  • A changing demographic profile of the UK population, e.g., population ageing and increasing ethnic diversity in UK society
  • Socio-cultural trends, e.g., changing nature of the family unit and participation of women in the labour market
  • Changing societal values and attitudes, e.g., what it means to have a career, increasing value placed on inclusion and environmentalism.

As a result of these trends, UK Defence has been reconsidering how to reward and incentivise UK Armed Forces personnel in 2035 and beyond. In 2022-2023, the Haythornthwaite Review of Armed Forces Incentivisation (HRAFI) was therefore conducted as an independently-chaired review of the UK Armed Forces’ approach to incentivisation of Regular and Reserve military personnel. It aimed to improve how Defence attracts, recruits and retains the people it requires now and out to the 2040s.

How are we helping?

RAND Europe collaborated with Ernst & Young to support the UK Ministry of Defence in conducting the Haythornthwaite Review of Armed Forces Incentivisation. RAND Europe supported the review as a research partner, providing an evidence backbone and providing modelling and analytics activities. This included:

  • Collating and reviewing existing research on Armed Forces incentivisation, recruitment and retention in the UK and Five Eyes countries
  • Exploring the motivations, values and Service experiences of different demographics of Armed Forces personnel
  • Identifying lessons for UK Defence from innovative workforce management approaches and models in other militaries as well as non-military organisations.
  • Understanding the experiences and perspectives of Armed Forces personnel of career and talent management.