Tackling Recruitment and Retention in European Armed Forces: Exploring Military Personnel Resignations in Greece

High Resignations in the Greek Armed Forces: A Complex Challenge

In Greece, the issue of high resignation rates in the armed forces has taken center stage, drawing attention to the underlying reasons and potential solutions. This phenomenon, reaching double-digit percentages, has raised concerns about its impact on the armed forces.

Reasons Behind High Resignations: The Greek Landscape

The resignations in the Greek armed forces are fueled by a range of critical factors. Chief among these are inadequate salary levels and adverse working conditions, which have become a daily occurrence, involving tasks unrelated to the core mission of the armed forces. Additionally, unpaid overtime, work-related stress, housing challenges, and the quality of life for military families contribute to the prevalent dissatisfaction among personnel.

Broader European Trends: Reflecting Demographic Changes and Technological Advancements

The issue extends beyond Greece and resonates with broader European societal changes. With a decreasing number of students entering the workforce, the labor market has become increasingly competitive. Modern technologies, digitalization, and emerging hybrid and cyber threats are reshaping the nature of soldiers’ roles, altering the skills recruiters seek in potential military personnel.

EUROMIL’s Recommendations and Solutions: Drawing from EUROMIL’s Position Paper on Recruitment and Retention

EUROMIL’s position paper on recruitment and retention offers valuable insights into addressing the challenges of high resignations. It emphasizes short-term and lifelong career paths as minimum standards. Notable recommendations include:

– Providing support for personnel transitioning to civilian careers after military service through training and preparation courses.

– Establishing connections with employers in various sectors to align training with job market needs.

– Ensuring transparent service terms and clear commitments about contract duration and post-contract support.

– Creating attractive career paths for both short-term and lifelong military service, considering salary, promotions, and experience.

– Fostering a diverse and inclusive working environment, promoting work-life balance, and offering opportunities for lifelong learning and mental well-being.

Implications and Future Concerns: Aiming for a Balanced Approach

The high resignation rates, if left unaddressed, could eventually undermine the military’s mission readiness. Overworking the remaining staff due to understaffing and an aging workforce exacerbates the challenge. A multifaceted approach is required to strike a balance between personnel retention and operational effectiveness.

Conclusion: A Way Forward

The issue of recruitment and retention in the European Armed forces, and particularly the resignations in Greece, demands a comprehensive response. While challenges persist, EUROMIL’s recommendations provide a roadmap for addressing the root causes of resignations and retaining qualified personnel. By evaluating these proposals, European armed forces can pave the way for a more robust and effective military community.

Written by George Zgardanas, analyst at KEDISA and Board Member at EUROMIL. The article was first published here.

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