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The 8 Federal Agencies Most Attractive to New Grads

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As recent graduates set out in search of new government jobs, there are only a handful of federal agencies that appear compatiable with the needs and wants of Generation Y. According to the Partnership for Public Service’s analysis of the 2011 NACE Student Survey, college student’s preference for public service is in decline. Last year, only 6 percent of students indicated an interest in joining the public sector--a significant decrease from the all-time high of 10.2 percent in 2009--and, of those, only 2.3 percent were interested in working at the federal level.  

Millennials, classified as the group nearly equal in size to the Baby Boomers born since 1980, have a different set of interests and skills than their parents. According to Pew, they’re the most diverse generation yet and consider their liberalism and tolerance unique. They’re tech-saavy, service oriented (e.g. see the popularity of Teach for America and AmeriCorps), care more about the value of work than the paycheck attached to it and prefer to work in small, close-knit teams.

Zoe Grotophorst, an analyst with the Government Business Council (GBC), took these traits and compared them against the Office of Personnel Management’s 2011 Employee Viewpoint Survey (EVS) results to compile a list of the federal agencies most compatible with what new grads are looking for in an employer. For instance, agencies that reported high levels of supervisor attention, feedback and recognition as well as work-life balance scored higher than those that didn’t. The only eight agencies that scored above 50 percent are listed below:

  1. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC)
  2. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)
  3. Federal Trade Commission (FTC)
  4. Department of Commerce (DOC)
  5. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC)
  6. Office of Personnel Management (OPM)
  7. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
  8. Department of State
Did your agency make the cut? How is your department or agency preparing to recruit talent from the millennial employment pool?

See GBC's full report

(Image via hxdbzxy/Shutterstock.com)

Zoe Grotophorst is the Manager of Research & Strategic Insightsat Government Business Council. She holds a Master of Public Policy degree from the George Mason University School of Public Policy and received her undergraduate degree in public policy from the College of William and Mary.

Mark Micheli is Special Projects Editor for Government Executive Media Group. He's the editor of Excellence in Government Online and contributes to GovExec, NextGov and Defense One. Previously, he worked on national security and emergency management issues with the US Treasury Department and the Department of Homeland Security. He's a graduate of the Coro Fellows Program in Public Affairs and studied at Drake University.

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