The U.S. Army is offering the most significant bonus ever for new recruits. The maximum compensation in the past was $40,000, but new recruits who commit to six years of service can now receive a $50,000 bonus.
A competitive job market and schools closing have resulted in substantial challenges for Army recruiters. The pandemic decreased their ability to recruit at public events and in schools. In addition, high competition for workers provides more options for quality candidates.
The military branch hopes an additional cash incentive will attract more qualified young adults to sign up.
“We are still living the implications of 2020 and the onset of COVID, when the school systems basically shut down,” Maj. Gen. Kevin Vereen, head of Army Recruiting Command, told the Associated Press. “We lost a full class of young men and women that we didn’t have contact with, face-to-face.”
The Army will not offer the full bonus to all new recruits. Instead, incentive packages are based on a combination of factors, including the chosen career field, individual qualifications, length of the enlistment and the date a new recruit ships out for training.
For example, there are incentives ranging from $1,000 up to $40,000 for in-demand occupations. In addition, “Quick Ship” bonuses for those who agree to leave for Basic Combat Training within 90 days range from $2,000 to $9,000.
Other incentives, such as signing up for Airborne or Ranger schools, can net an additional $10,000 to $20,000. And for specific career paths, foreign language skills can be worth up to $40,000.
“This is an opportunity to entice folks to consider the Army,” Brig. Gen. John Cushing, who serves as the deputy commanding general for operations under Vereen at USAREC, said in a statement. “We’ve taken a look at the critical (military occupational specialties) we need to fill in order to maintain the training bases, and that is where we place a lot of our emphasis.”