‘Exodus’ from Armed Forces as anger about squalid military housing drives troops out

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Paul O’Neill, the director of military sciences at the Royal United Services Institute who previously served as the MoD’s head of people strategy, said the drop was likely related to “multiple different factors”, with the “reasonably buoyant jobs market” the most important. He said that people who would “otherwise have gone” over the last few years had “hung on for a bit” because of the pandemic, but had now decided to leave. Mr O’Neill said the impact of inflation on troops’ pay was yet to feed into the retention figures, but that the military faced a growing challenge from the commercial world outcompeting it for talent. “As the Armed Forces become more technologically advanced, more sophisticated, then the kinds of skills that they’re trying to attract and retain are those that are more generally in demand by people who can typically pay more,” he said. “I’m not sure defence has got to grips with that as yet.”