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AI in recruitment Royal Air Force and Royal Navy

by Marco van der Hoeven

Pegasystems announced it has been chosen by the Royal Navy (RN) and the Royal Air Force (RAF) to develop a new, joint low-code platform for candidate recruitment.  The new application will be built on Pega Customer Service Digital Customer Engagement Edition.

The RN and the RAF typically receive interest from 180,000 candidates every year, resulting in approximately 60,000 applications from which they aim to recruit up to 8,500 service personnel. This recruitment effort is currently being delivered by approximately 600 RN and RAF personnel, operating out of 48 Armed Forces Careers Offices across the UK.  Today, the process is predominantly manual, which can result in long recruitment cycles and contribute to higher candidate dropout rates.  The new application is estimated to help reduce the recruitment process for those candidates that wish to progress quickly to as little as 30 days.

Intelligent automation

Digital Customer Engagement Edition will leverage intelligent automation and insights to create a nearly fully automated process to drive greater candidate proactivity and recruiting agility, while providing insights and data that are truly built around the candidate experience.  By creating a multi-channel, self-service model, candidates can take ownership of their progress and next steps, allowing recruiters to provide 1:1 nurturing to the candidates who need the most support during the recruitment journey.

Using a low-code approach to development, RN and RAF recruiters will be able to make future app changes themselves, becoming true citizen developers able to shape their own process.  Any necessary changes or service improvements may be achievable in hours or days rather than weeks or months, providing the required flexibility and agility to continue to modernise and stay current.


In addition, the new system will help support the Ministry of Defence‘s (MOD) Defence Diversity and Inclusion Strategy 2018 – 2030 by leveraging data and analytics to track under-represented candidate groups’ progress and performance to better understand how they can accelerate the realisation of their diversity targets.

The implementation partner is SiXworks, which has a strong track record of delivering highly successful projects within the MOD ecosystem and will act as the Programme Management Office (PMO) for delivery of the new application.
“With the prevalence of digital natives among the recruiting audience, there’s an expectation for an experience that matches the types of sophisticated digital journeys they experience in the rest of their daily lives,” said Hayden Stafford, president of global client engagement, Pegasystems.  “We’re honoured to help with this modernisation effort and excited to see both Services realise the benefits of a fully automated recruitment process in fulfilling their targets.”

Group Captain Lizzy Nicholl, head of recruiting and selection for the RAF said: “Royal Air Force recruiters have never had such hands-on involvement in a major software development project, so a joint RN and RAF Recruiting IT System [RITS] is very exciting.  Working hand in glove with Pega experts in building something so capable, which we can then maintain in-house, is a big step forward for us.  That we are delivering this project jointly with the Royal Navy is a great bonus, the level of collaboration is excellent, and we are seizing every opportunity to adopt recruiting best practice from each other.”

Complex operational environments

Group Captain Nicholl added: “We are hopeful that RITS will enhance the candidates’ recruitment experience and increase the likelihood that individuals will persist with their recruiting journey increasing the diversity within the Royal Air Force, which is critical to maximising our effectiveness as we move into ever more complex operational environments such as cyber and space.”

Captain Peter Viney, head of recruitment for the Royal Navy said: “The Royal Navy is absolutely delighted to be working with Pega to develop a modern recruiting Information and Communications Technology (ICT) system to support and modernise 21st century recruiting for the Senior Service to ensure a better candidate experience from end-to-end.”


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