While the feared "silver tsunami" of retirements never really transpired, the government workforce is worryingly aging. More than 70% of the federal workforce is age 40 or older. In the general workforce, only 54% are 40 or older. This skewed population is not only worrisome in terms of retirements interrupting continuity, but also introduces a huge risk in terms of diversity. Younger workers may lack experience, but they bring with them a perspective that is critical in designing services and solutions that meet the needs of citizens under 40. Younger workers may also have more up-to-date training in leading-edge technologies currently being deployed across government.
The public service call of government is a huge plus for younger workers who want a job where they can make a difference and find meaning. However, the outdated, lengthy hiring process and pay scales keep many from applying. These and other recognized barriers are being addressed across government to inject youth into the federal service workforce.
- Pay the interns - The Biden administration has issued guidance to encourage agencies to make internships paid positions and announced that all White House interns will be paid. Providing a salary for these foot-in-the-door positions makes them more attractive and attainable for a wider swath of young workers.
- Application assistance - The application process for government positions can be lengthy and confusing. Agencies are becoming more open and honest about the processes, providing clear guidance on when to apply for certain programs and guiding applicants through the many layers of paperwork. In fact, a new web portal within USAJOBS helps college students and other prospective interns find opportunities in government more easily.
- Training for the long haul - Once in a position, interns will have access to webinars on general skills needed to succeed as a federal employee, mentorship opportunities with current federal workers, access to speeches from senior executives, panels that go over the hiring process, and an intern hub featuring frequently asked questions, a calendar of upcoming events and other resources.
- Prioritizing interns - In addition to simply increasing participation in internship programs, the Office of Personnel Management and the Office of Management and Budget tasked agencies with incorporating the use of internships in their succession planning, talent management, and skills and competency gap assessments. Doing so means making sure there are dedicated resources overseeing internship programs.
GovEvents and GovWhitePapers feature a wide variety of perspectives on how the federal government can attract, train, and retain a younger workforce.
- Building an Education to Workforce Data Framework (October 17, 2023; webcast) - Speakers will detail how to build an education-to-workforce data framework demonstrating why a holistic approach matters, how this framework is being used in states around the country, and how to connect to evidence-based resources to build a plan.
- FedFUTURE: The Workforce Evolution (October 25, 2023; webcast) - Federal News Network leads a panel discussion among government human capital leaders about critical personnel topics the federal government faces now. This includes bringing new employees into federal service.
- Imagine Nation ELC 2023 (October 29-31, 2023; Hershey, PA) - This event brings together the government technology community to discuss the issues facing government and work together to develop practical solutions and innovative strategies. A focus for this year is the impact of technology on the workforce.
- Future of Jobs Report (white paper) - This fourth edition of the series continues the analysis of employer expectations to provide new insights on how socio-economic and technology trends will shape the workplace of the future.
- The New Human Age: 2023 Workforce Trends Report (white paper) - Learn more about the key forces and trends impacting the future of work, along with insights on how employers can attract and retain talent in this new age.
- The Race for U.S. Technical Talent (white paper) - This policy brief uses LinkedIn data to track the movement of tech workers between industries and metro areas, with a particular focus on the U.S. Department of Defense, the defense industrial base, and the so-called "Big Tech" companies.