Obama Would Increase Federal Workforce by 14,000 in 2015

Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP

Federal employment would increase by 14,000 jobs under President Obama’s fiscal 2015 budget proposal.

The departments of Treasury and Veterans Affairs would net the largest staff increases, with an additional 7,400 and 2,200 employees, respectively. Obama would boost the Securities and Exchange Commission rolls by the largest percentage of any agency, up 12 percent to 4,700 total workers.

The Defense Department would shed the most employees under the proposal, cutting 6,300 civilian workers as part of a previously outlined plan to shrink the Pentagon’s footprint in the post-war era. Other potential losers include the Environmental Protection Agency, NASA and the General Services Administration, which would decrease their respective workforces by 1.3 percent, 1.7 percent and 3.2 percent under Obama’s recommendation.

The total number of federal employees -- including military personnel and U.S. Postal Service employees -- will actually shrink under the president’s proposed budget. Obama would cut 2,400 USPS jobs and slash uniformed military personnel by 92,000, meaning the total number of feds would decrease by more than 80,000 employees -- a 2 percent decrease.

The White House praised the federal workforce in additional budget documents released Monday, but decried what it called an “outdated personnel system.” The administration called for more flexibility in federal hiring, pitching an alternative system that allows the government to “compete for and reward top talent.”

The documents demonstrated the federal workforce shrinking relative to the private sector over the last 40 years, and illustrated how federal employees have generally become better educated in recent decades. The White House noted the higher education levels should have corresponded to higher compensation relative to the private sector, but this has not happened.

The administration shouldered some of the blame for this trend, noting earnings for new federal employees has dropped by 10 percent relative to the private sector since Obama took office in 2009. The White House said it hoped the 1 percent pay raise feds received in 2014, as well as the proposed 1 percent raise for 2015, would help alleviate what has been a rough stretch for the workforce.

“The last few years have been challenging for the federal workforce,” the administration wrote in the budget documents. “Three years of a federal pay freeze, harmful sequester cuts, a 16-day shutdown of government, and a challenging political climate have made it increasingly difficult to deliver on agency missions. Yet, federal employees continue to persevere, continuing to serve the American people with passion, professionalism, and skill.”

Obama called for agencies to use resources like the Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey to adopt a more data-driven approach in improving employee morale and engagement. As outlined in his original budget proposal last week, he also pledged to reform the hiring process for members of the Senior Executive Service and establish new training initiatives.

In 2014, the administration will “build a stronger SES onboarding program so our leaders can more effectively transition into organizations, hit the ground running and understand the high standards that are expected of them from the beginning.”

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
Close [ x ] More from GovExec

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Sponsored by Brocade

    Best of 2016 Federal Forum eBook

    Earlier this summer, Federal and tech industry leaders convened to talk security, machine learning, network modernization, DevOps, and much more at the 2016 Federal Forum. This eBook includes a useful summary highlighting the best content shared at the 2016 Federal Forum to help agencies modernize their network infrastructure.

  • Sponsored by CDW-G

    GBC Flash Poll Series: Merger & Acquisitions

    Download this GBC Flash Poll to learn more about federal perspectives on the impact of industry consolidation.

  • Sponsored by One Identity

    One Nation Under Guard: Securing User Identities Across State and Local Government

    In 2016, the government can expect even more sophisticated threats on the horizon, making it all the more imperative that agencies enforce proper identity and access management (IAM) practices. In order to better measure the current state of IAM at the state and local level, Government Business Council (GBC) conducted an in-depth research study of state and local employees.

  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    The Next Federal Evolution of Cloud

    This GBC report explains the evolution of cloud computing in federal government, and provides an outlook for the future of the cloud in government IT.

  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    A DevOps Roadmap for the Federal Government

    This GBC Report discusses how DevOps is steadily gaining traction among some of government's leading IT developers and agencies.

  • Sponsored by LTC Partners, administrators of the Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program

    Approaching the Brink of Federal Retirement

    Approximately 10,000 baby boomers are reaching retirement age per day, and a growing number of federal employees are preparing themselves for the next chapter of their lives. Learn how to tackle the challenges that today's workforce faces in laying the groundwork for a smooth and secure retirement.

  • Sponsored by Hewlett Packard Enterprise

    Cyber Defense 101: Arming the Next Generation of Government Employees

    Read this issue brief to learn about the sector's most potent challenges in the new cyber landscape and how government organizations are building a robust, threat-aware infrastructure

  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    GBC Issue Brief: Cultivating Digital Services in the Federal Landscape

    Read this GBC issue brief to learn more about the current state of digital services in the government, and how key players are pushing enhancements towards a user-centric approach.

  • Sponsored by CDW-G

    Joint Enterprise Licensing Agreements

    Read this eBook to learn how defense agencies can achieve savings and efficiencies with an Enterprise Software Agreement.

  • Sponsored by Cloudera

    Government Forum Content Library

    Get all the essential resources needed for effective technology strategies in the federal landscape.


When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.