« | »

Federal Government Needs Massive Hiring

From an approving Washington Post:

Federal Government Needs Massive Hiring Binge, Study Finds

By Steve Vogel
Thursday, September 3, 2009

The federal government needs to hire more than 270,000 workers for "mission-critical" jobs over the next three years, a surge prompted in part by the large number of baby-boomer federal workers reaching retirement age, according to the results of a government-wide survey being released Thursday.

The numbers also reflect the Obama administration’s intent to take on several enormous challenges, including the repair of the financial sector, fighting two wars, and addressing climate change.

"It has to win the war for talent in order to win the multiple wars it’s fighting for the American people," said Max Stier, president and chief executive of the Partnership for Public Service, the think tank that conducted the survey of 35 federal agencies, representing nearly 99 percent of the federal workforce.

Despite its comprehensive scope, the survey is necessarily imprecise about certain questions in looking so far into the future. The number of hires would be affected, for example, by federal workers deciding to delay their retirement, the government continuing to rely on private contractors to handle some of these jobs, and Congress balking at the price tag of adding new workers to the federal payroll.

Nevertheless, the survey makes clear that the majority of new hires will be needed in five broad fields — medical, security, law enforcement, legal and administrative.

Mission-critical jobs are those positions identified by the agencies as being essential for carrying out their services. The study estimates that the federal government will need to hire nearly 600,000 people for all positions over President Obama’s four years — increasing the current workforce by nearly one-third.

The medical and public health area is most in need of hires, according to the study. Stier described the Department of Veterans Affairs as a "dramatic example" of an agency with pressing needs, as a result of the ongoing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. VA, according to the report, will need more than 48,000 hires over the next three years, including 19,000 nurses and 8,500 physicians.

Intelligence agencies expect to hire 5,500 people in the next year and "in the same order of magnitude" over the following two years, according to Ronald P. Sanders, chief human capital officer for the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. Such agencies include the Central Intelligence Agency and the National Security Agency.

"It’s a combination of how much turnover we expect and how much growth we expect in our budget," Sanders said.

The nation’s unsettled economy and high unemployment rate may ease the government’s task, as workers turn to the federal sector for job security and good benefits. But Stier said many federal agencies will have to fight to attract top talent, particularly in fields in which government cannot compete with private-sector salaries.

"Most are going to see extreme competition with the private sector," Stier said. This could be especially true in fields such as medical, legal and information technology, he said.

Yet federal hiring remains a cumbersome process for many agencies. "Fixing the hiring process is a key component in making it work," Stier said.

"Most government agencies have been historically passive, announcing jobs and waiting for people to line up," said Sanders, who served as associate director for policy for the Office of Personnel and Management before joining the national intelligence office.

But Sanders said Obama’s vow to make government service "cool" and federal efforts to streamline the hiring process should leave the government in good stead to make the hires.

The Department of Homeland Security expects to hire for 65,730 positions by 2012, an increase of more than 48,000 from the previous three-year period.

The Justice Department is expecting 4,000 new positions among law enforcement personnel, correctional officers and attorneys in the 2010 budget, said Mari Barr Santangelo, chief human capital officer for the department.

But, federal officials said, the ultimate accuracy of the hiring projections will depend on whether current employees retire as predicted.

Despite the projected growth in federal jobs, the size of the government would be no larger than at most other times in the country’s post-World War II history, both in relative and absolute terms.

In 1970, for example, the number of civilians on the federal payroll numbered 2,095,100, a figure that represented a little more than 1 percent of the U.S. population. In 2008, the comparable figure was 2,020,200, or 0.66 percent.

However, the figures do not reflect the enormous growth of the government contractor force as the result of privatization efforts pursued by previous administrations.

The Obama administration has signaled in its budget its intention to replace many contractors with government workers, particularly in the field of defense acquisition. This is another reason for the predicted surge in government hiring…

Gosh, what a shock.

We never thought Mr. Obama would expand the federal government.

This article was posted by Steve on Thursday, September 3rd, 2009. Comments are currently closed.

8 Responses to “Federal Government Needs Massive Hiring”

  1. BillK says:

    Too bad this won’t begin to balance the number of private-sector jobs the Government has destroyed.

  2. I filled out a 17 page application for a job with the resolution trust corporation (RTC) circa 1991. I had met with RTC officers, several times. I found them corrupt and stupid. I was certainly qualified. I was turned down. I later found out the 17 page application was for chumps like me. If you knew somebody, you were hired on the spot. The application was then just a formality.

    In Atlanta we have had a minority compliance board for years. Can you guess how that has worked?

  3. P. Aaron says:

    QUOTE: But Sanders said Obama’s vow to make government service “cool” and federal efforts to streamline the hiring process should leave the government in good stead to make the hires.

    Obama means “cool” to rat out your neighbor at: flag@whitehouse.gov

  4. GuppyNblue says:

    Suicide Economics 101

    Grow federal government and subsequently shrink its source of revenue.

  5. proreason says:

    I can’t shake this strange idea I have that counting the things other people make and telling them they have to make something else (your typical government job) doesn’t raise the standard of living of the country.

    I just can’t get into this Marxist thing.

  6. Petronius says:

    The penultimate sentence in this article is most curious: “The Obama administration has signaled in its budget its intention to replace many contractors with government workers, particularly in the field of defense acquisition.”

    If this statement is accurate, there are only two possible inferences. The first is that Nerobama’s administration does not have a clue about what it is doing. The second is that Nerobama does have a clue, but deliberately intends to corrupt or destroy the defense acquisition system, and to insert the government into competition with private enterprise.

    In the first place, “the field of defense acquisition” always consists exclusively of government personnel. Contracting positions cannot be contracted out because only licensed government contracting officers have authority to obligate government funds (money appropriated by Congress).

    Perhaps what the reporter really meant to say here is that the Administration intends to bring work currently performed by defense contractors in-house to be performed by government workers. However, that is impossible –– or at least impossible without making fundamental and sweeping changes to the American system of government.

    Federal procurement laws have long provided that government workers perform only inherently governmental functions, such as military combat, law enforcement, control and spending of government funds, etc. All other work is contracted out, and once work has been contracted out it remains in the private sector so long as there are companies willing to compete for the work.

    The underlying principle has always been that the American system is based on private enterprise, and the government does not compete with private enterprise.

    Perhaps that is about to change.

    • proreason says:

      I think a big part of this is about expanding the government voting block.

      A government contractor is temporary and is less inclined to vote for the “all government all the time” party than a permanent Civil Service employee.

      When the fascists are ready to takeover the Defense industry, they will just gin up an artificial crisis and sieze the Defense manufacturers.

      That takeover is probably scheduled for the Moron’s second term.

« Front Page | To Top
« | »