At a speech to announce a new collaboration between big business and the military, General Nick Carter laid out some of the problems with recruiting for the reserves.
After a failed £3 million campaign to get more people to sign up to the part-time military, the army has now re-launched a campaign celebrating camaraderie in the forces.
Speaking at an event hosted by telecoms giant BT, Carter said: “We are now dealing with a different generation, Generation Y, born after 1985, and they have a slightly different expectation of life, which tends to be slightly self-interested, very committed.”
“They are much more adaptable to the information age than my generation; they want to know what’s in it for them.
“They are looking for instant self-gratification. They are much more adaptable and what we wish to do is to empower every level to seize opportunities that further our cause.”
Whatever their ideals, said Carter, the army is determined to see Generation Y serve its nation.
“Whether you are led or whether you are a leader, leaders don’t accept the status quo, they set a clear direction,” he told the audience.
New specialties in the military could appeal to those in modern professions, he said.
“We are particularly looking for people from production, for people from creative areas, from fashion and design. They are coming forward in great numbers to take part in this.
“It’s a great opportunity this idea to build a portfolio of ideas,” he noted.
Carter also used the opportunity to re-launch the Military Covenant – a hypothetical agreement between military personnel and the nation which means they forgo certain rights like free speech while in uniform, but are properly looked after in return.