Thursday, October 20, 2011
Soldiers Leaving Army for Better-Paying Jobs in Mining
Just as the armed forces face a shortage of volunteers, the Army is bleeding professional soldiers. Gen. Juan Miguel Fuente-Alba complained that an average of 126 soldiers each month have been leaving the Army for higher-paying jobs in the private sector. Most losses are in the north of Chile, where mining companies have lured soldiers with higher salaries. To the mining industry, soldiers are an attractive source of labor. They've acquired technical and professional skills in the Army, and they're used to working in adverse conditions. The Army sought 7,000 professional soldiers for 2012, although 6,726 were budgeted. Already, nearly 6,000 are in the Army, leaving about 750 that would be added from enlisted personnel. Professional soldiers became part of the Army in recent years, as increased use of technology made it necessary to have soldiers with training and experience in various systems. For years, the Air Force has suffered a similar problem. It has lost many pilots to commercial airlines, where salaries are many times that of the military.