Agencies urged to use incentives to snare IT workers

A top government official last week encouraged federal managers to take advantage of employment incentives already in place to recruit and retain a talented information technology workforce. "Push existing programs to the maximum extent possible," said Ira L. Hobbs, deputy chief information officer at the Agriculture Department, during last week's annual Association of Government Accountants federal leadership conference in Washington. "Let your employees know you are struggling for them." Hobbs suggested agencies use a new student loan repayment benefit and provide more training for employees as a recruitment and retention incentive. Until the personnel process is revamped, he said, managers need to look for flexibility within the current system. For example, pay raises for certain IT workers that took effect in January should enable agencies to attract young people to entry-level positions that have been the hardest to fill. However, Hobbs said managers tend to think they need to replace workers who leave with same-grade employees. "Just because you lose a GS-14, it doesn't mean you have to hire a GS-14," Hobbs said. The federal Chief Information Officers Council has been working with the Office of Personnel Management on issuing new job classification standards for IT workers and on reforming IT pay systems within the government. As for recruiting employees, Hobbs said face-to-face contact with people is crucial. He said it is no longer feasible for managers to simply fill out a form listing the qualifications they are seeking and then give the form to the personnel office. "Managers and executives need to be personally involved if they want to recruit and retain the right people," said Hobbs. Hobbs said talking to students at the high school and college-age levels about the benefits of public service is also important. He noted that when he was a teenager in Tallahassee, Fla., federal employees came to his high school to talk about the government's plan for school desegregation, inspiring him to become a public servant. According to the Commerce Department, America will need 1.3 million new IT workers by 2006. The Office of Personnel Management has estimated that 30 to 35 percent of the IT workforce will be eligible for retirement in the next five years.
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
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Sponsored by G Suite

    Cross-Agency Teamwork, Anytime and Anywhere

    Dan McCrae, director of IT service delivery division, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

  • Data-Centric Security vs. Database-Level Security

    Database-level encryption had its origins in the 1990s and early 2000s in response to very basic risks which largely revolved around the theft of servers, backup tapes and other physical-layer assets. As noted in Verizon’s 2014, Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR)1, threats today are far more advanced and dangerous.

  • Federal IT Applications: Assessing Government's Core Drivers

    In order to better understand the current state of external and internal-facing agency workplace applications, Government Business Council (GBC) and Riverbed undertook an in-depth research study of federal employees. Overall, survey findings indicate that federal IT applications still face a gamut of challenges with regard to quality, reliability, and performance management.

  • PIV- I And Multifactor Authentication: The Best Defense for Federal Government Contractors

    This white paper explores NIST SP 800-171 and why compliance is critical to federal government contractors, especially those that work with the Department of Defense, as well as how leveraging PIV-I credentialing with multifactor authentication can be used as a defense against cyberattacks

  • Toward A More Innovative Government

    This research study aims to understand how state and local leaders regard their agency’s innovation efforts and what they are doing to overcome the challenges they face in successfully implementing these efforts.

  • From Volume to Value: UK’s NHS Digital Provides U.S. Healthcare Agencies A Roadmap For Value-Based Payment Models

    The U.S. healthcare industry is rapidly moving away from traditional fee-for-service models and towards value-based purchasing that reimburses physicians for quality of care in place of frequency of care.

  • GBC Flash Poll: Is Your Agency Safe?

    Federal leaders weigh in on the state of information security


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