Aug 30, 2009

Jobs: Officer shortage in the Military



Interesting article from the Strategy Page on the officer shortage faced by the Indian armed forces. Will the global recession change this reality? Will we see more talented people joining the Indian military?

Until the last few decades, it was considered prestigious, and career enhancing, to serve at least a few years as a military officer. These days, no more. Shortages are often filled by lowering standards, which can have disastrous results in combat.

The Indian Army is short 24 percent of its officer strength, while China has the numbers, it is seriously concerned with the quality. Meanwhile, the Indian army has had a shortage of officers for decades. The air force and navy are also short, but only by 12-15 percent. In China, the problem is growing as the economy continues to boom (despite the global recession.)

But it's not just officers that are hard for the Indians to recruit and keep. Technical specialists are in short supply, which is a growing problem as the army adds more high tech gear. The basic problem is that the army must compete with the civilian economy for highly trained or educated personnel.

The Indian army maintains high standards for officers, and has tried to eliminate the shortages by more aggressively recruiting young NCOs for officer candidate school. But that doesn't always work, because too many of the NCOs cannot pass the entrance exam.