The military profession: Recruitment, retention, and selection system development

Recruitment and retention are among the most important long-term issues for the Swedish Armed Forces. The project involves monitoring recruitment trends, in terms of quantity and quality, in order to observe changes and propose possible changes.

In people-oriented organizations it is increasingly important that the right person is in the right place, thus enabling effective contributions to the organisation's goals and visions. The people recruited and hired need to possess qualities and attitudes that are in line with the Swedish Armed Forces’ values. Thus, it becomes important to validate the selection processes used and to develop, test, and implement measurement tools. Another important aspect is the ability to retain the staff recruited. The Swedish Armed Forces has had a relatively high attrition rate for continuously employed soldiers and sailors.

With the introduction of conscription, recruits also need to be motivated to continue their commitment to the Swedish Armed Forces after completing their training. Officers at various levels also need to be happy and well in order to perform at their best. Leadership is important for getting individuals to develop a commitment to the Swedish Armed Forces, but also for job satisfaction. It is important that the Swedish Armed Forces understands how to create good conditions for leaders to exercise developmental leadership, and that employees know how to respond to experiences of destructive leadership.


The recruitment base

What are the physical and psychological qualities of the recruitment pool, and can the recruitment and selection process be improved?

Validation of the officer programme selection process

Is the selection process for the Officers’ Programme valid and accurate?

Destructive leadership

What individual and organisational factors and processes (e.g. attitudes, culture, norms) contribute to constructive and destructive leadership, respectively? How can subordinates respond to perceived destructive leadership in a functional way? How can the Armed Forces create conditions for good leadership and co-management to influence employees' effectiveness and willingness to stay in the Swedish Armed Forces?

Evaluation and development of the commanders’ selection group

Is the selection process for commanders’ selection group valid and accurate? How can the process be improved?

Moral integrity

How is moral integrity rated in recruitment and selection? How can moral integrity be measured and what is the relationship between moral integrity and work-related outcomes such as counterproductive behaviour? The subproject is carried out in collaboration with Direct General Military Personnel Research & Analysis, Canada (DGMPRA).

The research is carried out within the framework of the Armed Forces Research and Technology Development programme.

Responsible Department

Department of Leadership and Command & Control



The Swedish Armed Forces




Published 2022-06-28 Updated 2023-02-09