The point here has little to do with one's professionalism, or lack thereof. I also know of Reservists that are more "professional" than Reg Force soldiers, and I don't neccesarily think that the School's are the best place to be comparing oneself to Reg Force soldiers, if you catch my drift..... Being able to work full time, whether it is with Reg Force, or even full time at a Reserve unit is good, and performance should be what gets your promoted and qualified. Time in (the military) should never be the sole factor in promotions. I think that a soldier could retire after 20 years as a Private, or be a Master Corporal in 5 years. Rewarding people by having them show up for 4 years (or 2 years) doesn't do much to create good soldiers. It creates automatons who show up, do the bare minimum, and voila! they get promoted because a chart somewhere says they should be X rank afterY years of service.
The separate but equal system that exists between the Reg's and Reserves is going to further drive a wedge between the two, and any amount of justification can't change that. Whether the Reserves should be a "farm team" (a la sports) to feed the Reg Force could be debated to the end of time, but as long as the soldier is "good to go" and fully qualified, not the half-baked qualifications that I have seen, come on board. Having to re-train a "trained" soldier is a joke, and happens too often.
Anyway, we're drifting from the promotional incentives theme somewhat, and my opinion regarding that is there should be a difference between pay raises and promotions. Promotions in the military mean a raise in rank, and the inherent responsibilities and leadership roles that come with it. Some people are very good tradesman or soldiers, but aren't particularly good leaders. I know in the combat arms, I have heard the expression "He's a great worker!" used to justify sending someone on leadership training, and then said "uber worker" couldn't lead an ant to an ant hill. I think we could avoid some of these issues by going to a Specialist system like the Americans use, so that tradesmen could focus on being tradesmen, and the combat arms could get back to the hard-assed leadership training that we should have always been focussing on to create battlefield leaders. I have heard too many cringe-inducing stories about "leadership" courses that were allowed to pick their own subjects for their skill classes, or have "How to put icing on a cake" as a skill lesson, rather than weapons handling. Or the navigation/patrolling being conducted in a gymnasium (for night ops, turn off the lights!!!). Sad, but true.
I have heard rumour-net stories floated around about how people would get more pay for having more qualifications. I could see how that would work: guys who can't go to the field would get loaded up with courses, while the deployed or field-bound soldiers would be sucking the hind teat. Who would get paid more? The rear-party commandos. Or only the fair-haired boys of the unit would take all the good courses, and then never use them, and make more money.
Anyway, Unification of the Forces didn't do us any favours, and we will continue to pay for that decision until somebody decides that we need to go away from the "CF standard" for all things, which invariably ends up being watered down, and each element or trade makes/enforces it's own standards anyways. If you wear green (or CADPAT) you should be a rifleman first and foremost, and then whatever other trades training that you need for your trade. Sounds remarkably like..... the Marines. But what do they know about fighting wars, right?!?!
The fact of the matter, in the Reg Force anyway, is that pay incentives are NOT supposed to be automatic, but based on good performance. A soldier's incentive can (and should) be withheld if they are not performing to an acceptable standard. Once they have shown a marked improvement, they receive their incentive. However, that is not the case, and hence, everyone receives their incentive on the anniversary of their promotion. Dog 'er and receive the incentive, or drive 'er and receive the same incentive. There is no difference. So, in reality, it isn't an incentive. An incentive would be a standardised test for each rank level and trade, and if you get 60%, you would only receive 60% of the pay. Get 100%, and you get 100% of your pay. Sounds harsh, but that's life. Too radical for our huggy kissy military, where complacency trumps competence. Why work hard, you might break a sweat???
Anyway, I feel a bit better after venting my spleen