Aussie Military Looks to Manpower RPO To Fill Ranks

manpower logoThere’s an interesting discussion going on over at the Video 2.0 for Recruitment blog about the U.S. Army’s $33 million investment in a recruiting video game.

Ernest Feiteira picked up on an item I posted and started a conversation about the value of such recruiting tools. A couple others chimed in about the ROI, something I’m looking into for a future article.

At this point in the discussion, there’s no resolution to the question of how you would calculate the ROI.

However, Down Under, the Aussies must believe that outsourcing their military recruiting pays off because they have been doing it for some years. I know that because I talked with a Manpower spokeswoman about a press release announcing that the Milwaukee  firm just won a $200 million recruiting contract from the Australian  Defence Force. 

In the release, Commodore Tim Barrett, director general of defence force recruiting, is quoted saying: “Manpower’s capability in managing and delivering large-scale and complex recruitment services is necessary to attract the calibre of military recruits that we are looking for. The breadth, nature, and complexity of this recruitment program can be considered critical to national security.”

The nation of 21 million people has an enviable problem. Its unemployment rate has been declining for years and is somewhere around 4 percent for 2009. (Incidentally, the Aussies think that’s a recession.) Even though its total military force is only about 53,000 active duty, the military has been hard-pressed to find enough volunteers to fill its ranks, especially when it comes to certain types of jobs that are in demand in the civilian sector.Australian military

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The problem is so acute that a newspaper analysis a few months ago reported the Navy didn’t have enough submariners to staff its six submarines.

“By any measure,” says the report in the Australian, “the latest figures on recruitment from the Defence Department make for depressing reading.”

Manpower will employ 300 people to manage what it’s calling the “largest and most complex” RPO project in the world. It’s an end-to-end recruiting contract, that includes marketing and promotion up through onboarding.

The transition is already underway with the official launch set for February. Incidentally, it’s worth taking a look at the ADF recruiting website. The videos may not be as action-packed as some of the U.S. Army’s, but the ones I watched give you a pretty good idea of the nature of the jobs the military is looking to fill.

John Zappe is the editor of and a contributing editor of John was a newspaper reporter and editor until his geek gene lead him to launch his first website in 1994. He developed and managed online newspaper employment sites and sold advertising services to recruiters and employers. Before joining ERE Media in 2006, John was a senior consultant and analyst with Advanced Interactive Media and previously was Vice President of Digital Media for the Los Angeles Newspaper Group.

Besides writing for ERE, John consults with staffing firms and employment agencies, providing content and managing their social media programs. He also works with organizations and businesses to assist with audience development and marketing. In his spare time  he can be found hiking in the California mountains or competing in canine agility and obedience competitions.

You can contact him here.


2 Comments on “Aussie Military Looks to Manpower RPO To Fill Ranks

  1. Interesting articles Marvin. Thanks for sharing. a couple items worth considering
    1. Most of the US Army “Games” include realistic missions and even a game for “Boot camp” which argues for realistic expectations.
    2. My first reaction is shock in outsourcing the recruiting of people who conceivably can go into harms way to an RPO. The potential for incredible abuse is way too high. recruiters have a penchant for putting a colorful twist on any job and this is not going to be an exception. I would require that every Manpower recruiter have served -“been there and done that”.
    3. A 200 million contract to fix an estimated shortfall of 1000 (400 Army, 200 Navy, 200 airforce) of a goal that sounds like 4500 in total works out to about $50,000 per hire. and it looks like the each of the 300 recruiters need to average 1 hire per month.

    Maybe we should have submitted a proposal! We could have offered a 25K signing bonus for starters and still make a good buck.

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