Latest information on diversity in the Reserve Forces

The Ministry of Defence has an obligation under the Equality act to publish information about diversity in the UK Armed Forces, including Reservists. 

The report is published every six months and includes Tri-service insights and statistics relating to gender, ethnicity, nationality and age of military personnel employed by the MOD. The summary information shown here draws out the Reserves information as at April 2022 and covers the Royal Navy/Royal Marines, the Army and the RAF.   

Currently, there are no publicly declared Armed Forces recruitment targets for women and ethnic minorities (excluding white minorities), after the April 2020 targets came to a completion.

The Reserves included in the report are referred to as “Future Reserves 2020”. Future Reserves 2020 includes Volunteer Reserves who are mobilised, HRR and volunteer reserve personnel serving on Additional Duties Commitment (ADC) or FTRS contracts. Sponsored Reserves who provide a more cost effective solution than Volunteer Reserve are also included in the Army Reserve FR20. Non Regular Permanent Staff (NRPS), Expeditionary Forces Institute (EFI) and University Officer Cadets and Regular Reservists are excluded. Intake to Future Reserves 2020 Forces comprises new entrants, Regular to Reserve transfers, Reserve re-joiners, and Reserve personnel joining from another part of the Reserves that are not included in the FR20 target population. figures include both Trained and Untrained personnel.

Eighty-four percent of reservists are male.

Female representation in the Reserve Forces is 15.6%. This is an increase of 0.5% to compared to March 2021. Also for comparison, 11.4% of Regular Forces are female.

Between 2012 and 2022, the proportion of female Officers rose by almost 7% in the RAF Reserves, this proportion having risen, but less so, in the Maritime Reserve and Army Reserve. Future Reserves 2020 has a higher Female representation of Officers in every Service compared with the Regular Forces.


More female reservists left the Armed Forces in the last 12 months than joined. In the 12 months to 31 March 2022, 810 female personnel joined the Reserve Forces. The majority of this intake joined the Army Reserve (570 female personnel), followed by RAF Reserve (140 female personnel) and Maritime Reserve (100 female personnel).

Ethnic minorities (excluding white minorities) personnel accounted for 6% of the UK Reserve Forces (2120 personnel)

This is a 0.3% increase over 12 months. The ethnicity of Reserve Forces by service as at 1 April 2022 is 6.4% in the Army Reserve, 5.2% in the RAF Reserve and 3.6% in the Maritime Reserve.

Ethnic minorities (excluding white minorities) personnel in the Future Reserves 2020 represent 7.8 per cent of Intake in the 12 months.

The average age of UK Reservists is 38

90% of UK Reservists are over the age of 25. Over half of those joining the Future Reserves 2020 this year served in the UK Armed Forces, explaining in part why the age profile is higher for reservists.

Declaration of Sexual Orientation is not mandatory for Armed Forces personnel; only 8% of UK Reservists have declared their sexual orientation and the report states that the sexual orientation breakdowns will be provided once declaration rates reach a high enough percentage to be representative.

The full report is online now.  

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