For the first time in its history, the U.S. Army is offering its largest bonus ever for new recruits who commit to six years of service — $50,000.
Up until now, the Army has offered a maximum bonus for new recruits of $40,000.
Maj Gen. Kevin Vereen, head of Recruiting Command, told The Associated Press that the Army hopes the increase in bonuses will help attract new talent amid a challenging landscape for military recruiters. Vereen said the pandemic has made it difficult to recruit both in schools and at public events, making the competition for getting qualified recruits in the door much more difficult.
“We are still living the implications of 2020 and the onset of COVID when the school systems basically shut down,” Vereen told the AP. “We lost a full class of young men and women that we didn’t have contact with, face-to-face.”
Not everyone will get the maximum
The maximum $50,000 bonus won’t go to every recruit. In a news release Wednesday, military recruiting officials said the incentive, for those qualified recruits who sign up for certain career paths, is aimed at competing for the “same talent” that the private sector is competing for.
The Army is trying to fill both part-time and full-time vacancies in about 150 career fields in both active-duty and reserve components.
“This is an opportunity to entice folks to consider the Army,” said Brig. Gen. John Cushing 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.”
The bonus size depends on a range of factors
The total incentive package for new Army recruits will be based on a range of factors — such as career field, individual qualifications, length of an enlistment contract and ship date for training, officials said.
Career-based incentives will range from $1,000 up to $40,000 for jobs that need to be filled or are difficult to fill due to specific qualifications, such as radar repairers and infantry and special forces.
Officials said the Army will also offer an incentive between $2,000 to $9,000 for those who are ready to ship out to basic training within 90 days — with more money being offered for those who ship out sooner.
In addition, there are also incentives for those who sign up for Airborne or Ranger schools.