2008: In order to improve morale, and help with recruiting, the Australian Navy
is giving some 95 percent of its sailors two months of paid leave (starting
December 3rd). Only enough sailors will stay on duty to perform essential
patrols, and guard the ships and bases.
the navy only has about 87 percent of the personnel it is authorized. The
shortage is particularly difficult with technical specialists. The Australian Navy
has been suffering from a serious geek shortage for several years now. With a
total strength of 13,000, being short a few dozen people in some job categories
can have serious repercussions, and that's what is keeping a lot of ships from
even going to sea. For example, the navy is short about a third of the marine
engineering officers it needs. There are less serious shortages in officers
specializing in electrical systems and weapons systems. Australian warships
have been active in the war on terror, resulting in many crews being away from
home for up to six months at a time. There are shortages of both officers and
sailors with technical skills. Many of those in undermanned job categories are
overworked, and more prone to leaving the service. Potential recruits for these
categories are similarly discouraged.
situation was, until recently, further complicated by a booming economy, and
big demand for those with engineering degrees, and a few years of experience.
This made it easy for engineering officers to leave the navy and get a higher
paying, and more comfortable, job. The navy is responding with cash bonuses,
better living and working conditions, and other fringe benefits. But the recent
recession, and cutbacks in orders for raw materials from China, has made it
easier for recruiters. If the hard times get harder, and go on for a while, the
navy made find it up to strength.
navies have similar problems, and have applied similar solutions, with some
degree of success.