Personnel, retention challenges facing the federal workforce

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Mallory Barg Bulman, vice president of research & evaluation at the Partnership for Public Service, discusses workforce issues in the federal government, and how the government shutdown impacted them.


According to a new report released by the Senior Executives Association, there are some wide-ranging workforce issues affecting the federal government.  These include an increase in political appointees at agencies, and a “brain drain” from skilled federal workers retiring. Mallory Barg Bulman, vice president of research & evaluation at the Partnership for Public Service, says that finding the talent that the federal government needs is going to be very difficult.

 

“People always say that it’s really hard to get the talent you need. Frequently, the federal government finds itself with one arm tied behind its back. We have really antiquated hiring laws, we have really archaic processes. The federal service and the systems that it’s based off of were built 40 years ago. I don’t know any private sector company that’s still operating its HR in the same way it was.” Bulman told Government Matters. “You do want to make sure you have the right talent in the right positions. There’s only 6% of the federal workforce that’s under the age of 30, and that really means that you won’t have a robust talent pipeline as people are retiring. Steps like the recent government shutdown and the possible upcoming federal shutdown really do affect people’s interest in working in federal service.”