The UK military is in dire need of tech experts, and that’s not just hearsay. An independent inquiry led by Rick Haythornthwaite has confirmed that the UK’s military is having difficulty recruiting people with key technological skills. This is a significant challenge for the UK in its fight to win modern battles like the one raging in Ukraine.

The report highlights that the fast pace of technological change has transformed the character of warfare, making the UK’s current approach inadequate. The pervasiveness of information and the use of advanced technology are indeed two lethal weapons on the battlefield. Unfortunately, the British military is lagging behind, and it’s not for lack of trying.

The report cites insufficient recruitment as a significant challenge, particularly when it comes to tech experts. The military is simply unable to lure the best and the brightest in the IT industry away from their cushy jobs in the private sector. This is especially true since the military offers less attractive compensation packages and fewer work-life balance perks than their private counterparts.

British Army Commandos
British Army Commandos conduct strategic planning in support of Large Scale Exercise 17 (LSE-17) at Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center (Source: NARA)

It’s not just a question of pay and benefits, though. The UK military also lacks a tech-friendly culture, which isn’t helping in its recruitment efforts. Young IT specialists are attracted to startups or multinational companies where they can exercise creativity and tackle interesting challenges. In contrast, the UK military is perceived as bureaucratic and slow-moving, where change is hard to effect.