HALF of all applications to join the army withdraw during the recruitment process, figures show.
Fifty-four thousand potential personnel pulled out from the military jobs pipeline last year before being enlisted.
Rejections accounted for a quarter of those wanting to join with only 15,380 given the green light to continue out of 92,830 applications overall.
Around 460,000 withdrew since 2013 – with the vast majority looking for work beyond the forces, Ministry of Defence figures show.
Major General Paul Nanson, who heads army recruitment, revealed earlier this year that it will take several years for the service to get back up to near full strength.
But despite an army numbers target of 82,000 there is a shortfall of around 8,000.
A recruitment campaign last year targeted selfie addicts and “snowflakes” in an attempt to boost numbers.
Recruitment rules now allow those who are overweight or suffer to be able to join the ranks.
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Critics have aimed their fire at Capita who signed a 10-year deal worth £495 million to sign up recruits starting in 2012.
Ministers have backed “improvements” in turning round the process and are reaching proposed targets with nearly 100 per cent set to start basic training this year.
But ex-Defence Minister John Spellar said: “People apply with enthusiasm but they have clearly been allowed to drift away before the end of the process.”
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