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2 Jun, 2023 18:30

UK military morale plummets – survey

Only 42% of Britain’s military personnel are satisfied with their service, a new Ministry of Defence poll has found
UK military morale plummets – survey

The UK military’s morale continues to fall, with servicemen disgruntled over poor housing and low wages, a new survey conducted by the country’s Ministry of Defence shows. The findings of the annual Armed Forces Continuous Attitude Survey (AFCAS) were published by the military on Thursday.

Nearly 30,000 UK military personnel were invited to contribute to the poll, which was conducted between September 2022 and February 2023. The questionnaires were distributed both online and on paper, with only 31% of servicemen who were contacted – some 9,176 – bothering to respond.

The research showed that overall “satisfaction with service life” among troops continued to fall, reaching the 42% mark on average – compared to 50% the previous year. Officers who responded were more satisfied, with 52% responding positively, while only 39% of other ranks indicated they were pleased with the service.

Poor housing and low wages continue to be issues for the military, with only 42% of polled servicemen stating they were satisfied with their accommodation. Just 31% of respondents said they were satisfied with the “rate of basic pay,” the survey shows. Some 51% of respondents said they did not believe their pay and benefits were fair, with only 31% stating otherwise.

The drop largely stemmed from the disimproving attitudes of RAF members, while “levels of satisfaction” across the other branches largely remained unchanged, the military noted. Army personnel remain the most pleased, reporting a 45% level of satisfaction, while RAF, Royal Navy and Royal Marines displayed a 37% level of satisfaction on average.

The evaluation of morale levels turned out to be rather grim as well, with only 11% of respondents describing the overall service morale as high – a 3% drop compared to the previous survey. At the same time, some 39% of servicemen described their own morale as high, with some 22% stating that the morale of their units was at a top level.

Only around a third of personnel – some 34% – feel “valued” by their service, with the indicator falling sharply after peaking at 41% back in 2021. Half of the personnel also believe their families do not benefit from their service. However, 80% of personnel still consider their families to be proud to be associated with the military.