RAF leadership confidence plummets amid disastrous diversity drive

The Royal Air Force (RAF) has seen a significant decline in morale and confidence in its leadership, according to a recent survey. The Ministry of Defence’s continuous attitude survey revealed that only 18% of aviators had confidence in the RAF’s senior leadership in 2023, a sharp decrease from 36% in 2021. This comes as Air Chief Marshal Sir Mike Wigston is set to step down from his position, with his tenure being marked by a controversial recruitment drive aimed at improving diversity.

The recruitment campaign, which aimed to attract more women and ethnic minorities, resulted in white male applicants being labelled as “useless white male pilots.” The RAF was later forced to pay £5,000 each to 31 white men who were affected by the policy. The recruitment drive only came to an end when the head of recruitment resigned in protest, claiming the policy was discriminatory against white men.

The survey also found that only 26% of respondents felt that the senior leadership team, led by Air Chief Marshal Wigston, was willing to listen to feedback. A mere 15% believed that their top bosses understood the impact of changes in the RAF on personnel.

Overall satisfaction with life in the RAF dropped to 37%, the lowest level since the question was first asked in 2007. Furthermore, the proportion of personnel who agreed that their leaders were committed to creating a diverse and inclusive workplace fell by 15 percentage points to 57% since 2022.

The survey, which collected data from over 9,000 personnel across the RAF, army, and Royal Navy, also revealed that satisfaction with service life across all three services had fallen to 42%. One contributing factor was concern about pay amid rising living costs and high inflation. Satisfaction with the basic rate of pay dropped to its lowest recorded level of 31%.

Another issue affecting satisfaction was the quality of service accommodation, which houses more than three-quarters of all military personnel during the working week. When asked about the quality of maintenance or repair work on their homes, only 19% of respondents said they were happy.

As the RAF faces these challenges, it will be crucial for the new leadership to address the concerns raised by personnel and work towards rebuilding morale and confidence in the institution.

World News

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Jamie Cartwright

Jamie is a keen traveler, writer, and (English) teacher. A few years after finishing school in the East Mids, UK, he went traveling around South America and Asia. Several teaching and writing jobs, he found himself at The Thaiger where he mostly covers international news and events.