The RAF has throttled recruiting efforts in an attempt to get more women and ethnic minorities into the fold. Last week Sky News reported the RAF had told recruiters to effectively stop hiring white males so it could meet “diversity targets.” The story, citing unnamed sources, also said a senior officer in the personnel department, a woman, had resigned in protest. On Friday, the Times confirmed the basics of the story with Air Vice-Marshal Maria Byford, one of the highest ranking female officers in the RAF, and she was upbeat about the decision. Sky News reported the news.
“If I can include more women and more people from different backgrounds in that, I think I have a better service in the long run. We are unashamed about doing that because I think that’s a good thing,” she told the Times. The RAF is about 20 percent short of its goal of recruiting 25 percent women and 12 percent minorities, and Byford said the RAF board is considering ways to use “positive action” to recruit based on ethnicity and gender. Recruits are now assessed as they turn up at induction centers and are sent to the next phase in the same order. While the board considers the move, she said she asked recruiting offices to “stop filling up the training courses.” She also said the board might choose to maintain the current recruiting regimen.