The U.S. Army is offering its highest enlistment bonus yet — a maximum of of $50,000 — to "highly skilled" recruits who join for six years in one of several high-demand career fields, reports The Associated Press. The offer comes as the branch struggles to recruit soldiers amid the ongoing pandemic, which has complicated public recruitment events, and a competitive job market.
The Army previously offered a maximum bonus of $40,000; however, obtaining these maximum amounts can be difficult, given the high standards required for them. Additionally, the total amount of bonuses available for this year hasn't been set yet, said Maj. Get. Kevin Vereen, head of Army Recruiting Command, to the AP.
In 2018, the Army reached a peak of giving more than $485 million in bonuses. That same year, the Army failed to meet its recruiting goal and the amount of money devoted to bonuses has since decreased. According to the AP, the Army spent more than $233 million on bonuses in the fiscal year that ended last Sept. 30, with about 16,500 recruits earning an average enlistment bonus of more than $14,000.
Vereen told the AP that he expects this year's recruiting goal to be about the same as last year's, which was 57,500.
“We’re in a competitive market,” said Vereen. "How we incentivize is absolutely essential, and that is absolutely something that we know that is important to trying to get somebody to come and join the military.'