Amid militarywide recruiting challenges, Marine recruiters are set to receive up to hundreds of dollars in monthly bonuses ― if they choose to stay in their often-grueling jobs for half a year or more.
Canvassing recruiters and the staff noncommissioned officers in charge of recruiting substations will receive the additional bonus pay if they extend three-year tours by six, nine or 12 months, according to a Marine administrative message Tuesday.
The volunteer supplemental incentive, or VSI, pay will come on top of the other pay recruiters get, like the special duty assignment pay, according to the message.
Recruiters who extend for six months will receive $500 in monthly VSI pay, the MARADMIN said. Those who extend for nine months will get $625. And those who sign on for another full year of recruiting duty will earn $750, for a total of $9,000.
Certain Marine recruiters ― including officer selection assistants and recruiters on their second tours ― aren’t eligible to extend their tours, according to the MARADMIN.
The Marine message warned that the bonus pay will be cut off for recruiters who fail to meet the recruiting requirements handed down by recruiting station commanders, and recruiters can’t receive the pay as a lump sum. The pay can’t be suspended month-to-month, however.
The Corps’ attempts to keep recruiters in their jobs comes as the military is facing a recruiting crisis.
The Marine Corps just barely made its fiscal year 2022 goals, but only after lowering them thanks to higher-than-expected retention.
Two recruiters who spoke to Marine Corps Times on the condition of anonymity, described recruiting duty as wearying and frustrating. To meet their monthly targets, they have had to work late nights and weekends, often forgoing time with family.
One reason recruiters’ hours can be so extreme is that it’s difficult to find young people who are willing and able to serve. Many of today’s youth are uninterested in military service, out of shape or scoring too low on tests.
And the rollout of a medical screening service that pulls prospective recruits’ medical records for health problems has delayed or even ended some young people’s enlistment prospects, recruiters say.
Irene Loewenson is a staff reporter for Marine Corps Times. She joined Military Times as an editorial fellow in August 2022. She is a graduate of Williams College, where she was the editor-in-chief of the student newspaper.