Thursday, September 11, 2008

Updating Submarine Retention and Recruiting in a Job That Females Now Do

Two years ago, Australia was having problems crewing submarines despite a policy of recruiting volunteer seamen and women (from within the Royal Australian Navy). So, it began a new program:

The navy has such a shortage of engineers and marine and electronic technicians to crew its submarines, it has been forced for the first time to recruit straight off the street. Sydney Morning Herald Mar 27, 2006

Molten Eagle explained the actual root cause of the Aussie recruiting problem in Curious: Aussie Admiral Pushes Nuclear Sub Fleet:

Underlying psychology (of Australia's potential male recruits): Why volunteer for a job that females now do? Answer: The young males do not volunteer; glamour has been compromised. For married submariners, moreover, the divorce rate among submariners is huge - about 80 per cent, the Aussies report.

This has now come to pass: September 11, 2008 - The Australian, Another navy sub forced to dry-dock because of crew shortages - 'THE Royal Australian Navy is set to move the fourth of its six Collins-class submarines into dry dock because of crew shortages, undermining Kevin Rudd's plans for a massive upgrade in naval resources to counter a military build-up inAsia.'

Young, red-blooded, male reality has caught up with RAN political expedience. As to retention of male submariners, competition from the mining sector is (remember this?) not unique to Australia. Once open, the Pandora box of female service is not only problematic on subs, its hard to get closed again.

Submarines are always silent and strange.



At 13 September, 2008 23:44, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am involved with the Collins combat system. I'll be going down there in January in fact. I recently worked with somebody who works for my company's division down under.

According to him, the reason for the shortage in manpower (and its not just subs - its all services) is the current resourse (minerals, oil, etc.) boom. They are paying apprentices (basiclly tool carriers/gophers) $100K per year. More if you have electronics skills or robot operations skills. Why work for half that - or less? He didn't mention anything about females having that effect. Thet're just part of the crew.

The news article may have some basis in truth, but just like the media here in the US, they don't always get their facts straight, or embellish what they do have..

At 14 September, 2008 10:09, Blogger Vigilis said...

Sonarman, your Aussie source is correct as far as $$$$ being the main consideration currently. The newest (The Australian) article did not reference the mining boom (perhaps because it is already old news). My posting does cite it, however, in the last paragraph and link.

However, The Australian article does give these interesting updates:

"The RAN has over 400 submarine-qualified personnel. Not all six submarines need to be crewed at any one time as a proportion of the force is in maintenance," it said in a statement. Minimum crew conists of 45. [Well, we know that not all 400 sailors are available at one time either, due to leaves and training requirements].

and this:

"The Government recently offered the elite crews bonuses of up to $60,000 if they extended their service an extra 18 months. The Collins Class submarines require a bare minimum of 45 sailors to crew the warship of whom 50 per cent are highly qualified technicians."

Time will tell the female folly.


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