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With over 92,000 people, Defence is one of Australia's largest employers. Over half of the workforce (56%) are full-time ADF personnel, a significant proportion (23%) are employed in the ADF Reserves and a further 21% are civilians (graph 4.6).
Table 4.7 shows the distribution of ADF personnel across the three Services. Army personnel represent almost half the full-time ADF, and almost 80% of the Reserves, with the remaining personnel divided between the Navy and the Air Force.
Reserves and Cadets
The ADF Reserves make up over a quarter of the ADF. The role of the Reserves is changing to suit the needs of a modern defence force. They are no longer solely relied upon during times of major conflict, but also contribute to operations arising at short notice, help sustain operations, assist in domestic peacetime operations and provide additional support to the ADF in maintaining training and operational schedules.
The ADF Cadets is a youth training organisation that provides leadership and initiative training, while developing the interest of young people in the ADF. The program is aimed at youth between the ages of 12 and a half and 18, and is conducted within a military context in schools and other community settings. In more than 400 communities throughout Australia, around 25,500 young people participate as Navy, Army, or Air Force Cadets. Some 2,500 adult volunteers lead and supervise personal development and training activities for cadets. Former cadets continue to make up a significant proportion of recruits into the ADF and are more likely to stay in the ADF in the long-term.
The cadet scheme performs the dual function of developing the individual and strengthening the ADF. Cadets cultivate personal and team qualities that will benefit them and their communities, as well as fostering community spirit in participants. The scheme also forms a tangible link between the ADF and the wider community, encouraging community involvement with, and support for, the ADF.
Women in the ADF
Men and women have equal access to employment in the ADF, with the exception of certain functions involving direct combat duties. Women comprised 13% of the ADF Permanent workforce at 30 June 2003 and are able to serve in all positions except for the following types of combat roles:
For health and safety reasons, women are not employed in areas where exposure to embryo-toxic substances could endanger their health. Women are not employed, for example, as surface finishers and electroplaters within the Air Force.
A project has commenced to enable physical employment standards to be developed for the Army's combat arms employment categories and the Air Force's Airfield Defence Guards. The project will result in data being collected to enable improved understanding of the physical characteristics and performance capacity of Defence personnel and to develop a trade selection and barrier testing regime that will optimise an individual’s likely success in each employment category.
Table 4.8 compares the distribution of females and males in the permanent ADF.