Interesting article in the Wall Street Journal about how the Federal government is falling to attract young people.
“Employees under the age of 30 hit an eight-year low of 7% in 2013…[while back in 1975, more than 20% of the federal workforce was under 30.”
Conversely, 45% of the federal workforce is older than 50.
Moreover by September 2016, a quarter of the all federal employees will be eligible to retire–that the retirement wave we’ve been hearing about for years, but never seems to really come (because of the economy).
Without “a pipeline of young talent, the government risks falling behind in an increasingly digital world.”
It’s not the older people can’t learn the technology, but rather they aren’t digital natives as those born in the later part of the 20th century.
To see just a glimpse of the digital divide, you need to go no further than when many of these folks snicker at us for even just sending emails–something so uncouth to the younger crowd.
With years of salary freezes, no awards, benefit cuts especially for new hires, and shutdowns, the federal government which used to be “an employee of choice,” is “now an employee of last resort.”
Further, “the reputation for bureaucracy and hierarchy is driving away many workers.” People want to be productive and get things done, not spin their wheels.
Yet, the government offers so many exciting jobs performing critical missions in everything from national security, diplomacy, law enforcement, and so much more, it is ironic that we cannot attract young people, who are often the most idealist.
Diversity in the federal workforce means that people under 30 are not a rarity!
Everyone–no matter what age, sex, race, religion, and so one–provides an important contribution, so that the sum of the parts is greater than the whole.
We need people to clearly feel the honor in public service, to see the importance of the missions performed, and to be treated like valued workers and not political pawns in partisan showdowns and Washington shutdowns.
Let’s actively recruit with an attractive smorgasbord of enhanced salary and benefits, especially in critical fields like cyber security, information technology, biotechnology, aerospace engineering, and more.
It’s time for the federal government to become attractive for young (and older) workers again, and not apologetic for providing important jobs in service of the nation.
The federal government needs to compete for the best and brightest and not resign itslef to second-tier, ever.
Our young people are an important pipeline for fresh ideas and cutting-edge skills, and we need them to prevent a govgeddon where we can’t perform or compete with the skills and diversity of workforce that we must have. 😉
(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)