Militaries across the globe are reviewing their beard policies. Since beards are extremely popular nowadays, militaries are worried that strict facial hair policies forbidding beards could be causing potential recruits to select a different career altogether.
A Statista survey showed that 18% of respondents use beard care products every day, but many nations’ military organizations require their members to shave off their beards entirely — that could soon be changing.
According to The Telegraph, the Royal Army is reviewing its own beard ban amid fears that the stringent rules are putting off younger recruits from potentially joining.
“We are an organization that needs to recruit and putting up artificial barriers because of an inability to change isn’t what we are about,” said Captain Dave Somerville, an Officer in the Royal Engineers. “While attending a recent recruiting event I couldn’t help but notice that a large percentage of the potential soldiers were sporting facial hair. It made me wonder how many of them were put off joining up because they can’t have a beard.”
Capt. Somerville has spent 38 years in service and does not understand why the facial hair regulations remain today.
“The most annoying reason though is tradition, just like the one where we wore red tunics and advanced slowly towards the enemy,” he adds.
CBC News adds that the Canadian military will officially allow beards in order to improve morale and attract younger recruits, though new recruits will be required to shave at first.
There are a few specific grooming instructions, however. Beards can’t be straggly and must be neatly trimmed. Also, beards “shall not exceed two centimeters in bulk.”
The new policy eases facial hair restrictions, which have been in place for years. Until now, beards were only allowed on a limited basis and solely at the discretion of the chief of the defense staff.
“[The new policy] recognizes that greater control over personal appearance enhances organizational morale and our ability to attract a wider range of Canadians,” added Alain Guimond, Chief Warrant Officer.
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