Report: Better pay won’t solve tech worker shortage

Better pay would help the government attract technology workers, but money alone won't make them want to work for federal agencies, a report released Thursday suggests. The National Academy of Public Administration study of pay systems for technology workers in the private and public sectors suggests that to attract technology workers, the government needs to increase pay, offer better rewards and recognition, provide more training and advancement opportunities, speed up hiring and do a better job of convincing people that the government is a good place to work. "While competitive pay is vital, factors other than pay also play a significant role in the ability of the private sector companies to recruit and retain IT workers," said the academy's report, "Comparative Study of Information Technology Pay Systems." "Exposure to new technologies through training and on-the-job exposure, career advancement opportunities, family-friendly benefits, flexible work schedules, good working relationships with supervisors and coworkers and meaningful recognition for individual and team performance are non-pay benefits that can close the gap for those organizations that are unable to offer lucrative, high-paying compensation packages," the report said. Private sector managers see non-pay factors as important elements in getting technology workers to come and stay. For example, companies offer employees concierge services and equipment to use at home--and promote such perks during the hiring process. In fact, as long as workers are not significantly underpaid, pay is not as important to technology workers as five other factors are, said the study's chairman, Costis Toregas. The top five reasons reasonably paid techies stay at jobs are good management, good work environment, challenging work, flexible work arrangements and training. That means federal agencies don't necessarily have to try to match higher private sector technology salaries to recruit and retain workers. The report is part of a three-phase, $678,000 study, paid for by a group of federal agencies. The results of the research phase are included in the report released Thursday. The academy plans to issue a second report in June looking at the range of options for altering the compensation system for technology workers. The academy will recommend specific changes to the compensation system in its third report, which is scheduled for release in August or September. The first report included examples of successful efforts to recruit and retain IT workers in federal agencies and state governments. The city of San Diego, for example, created a non-profit organization for IT support services, allowing the city to avoid civil service system rules that made it hard to recruit and retain IT personnel. At the State Department, managers set up a recruitment bonus system that gave 10 percent to 25 percent signing bonuses to tech workers with certain skills. Most federal officials, however, told researchers that the government pay system makes it hard to bring in and hold onto tech workers. Special pay rates for GS-5 to GS-12 tech workers, which took effect this year, have helped agencies "but do not go far enough to address the range of recruitment and retention issues with which … agencies are dealing," the report said.
Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
FROM OUR SPONSORS
JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Close [ x ] More from GovExec
 
 

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

  • Forecasting Cloud's Future

    Conversations with Federal, State, and Local Technology Leaders on Cloud-Driven Digital Transformation

    Download
  • The Big Data Campaign Trail

    With everyone so focused on security following recent breaches at federal, state and local government and education institutions, there has been little emphasis on the need for better operations. This report breaks down some of the biggest operational challenges in IT management and provides insight into how agencies and leaders can successfully solve some of the biggest lingering government IT issues.

    Download
  • Communicating Innovation in Federal Government

    Federal Government spending on ‘obsolete technology’ continues to increase. Supporting the twin pillars of improved digital service delivery for citizens on the one hand, and the increasingly optimized and flexible working practices for federal employees on the other, are neither easy nor inexpensive tasks. This whitepaper explores how federal agencies can leverage the value of existing agency technology assets while offering IT leaders the ability to implement the kind of employee productivity, citizen service improvements and security demanded by federal oversight.

    Download
  • IT Transformation Trends: Flash Storage as a Strategic IT Asset

    MIT Technology Review: Flash Storage As a Strategic IT Asset For the first time in decades, IT leaders now consider all-flash storage as a strategic IT asset. IT has become a new operating model that enables self-service with high performance, density and resiliency. It also offers the self-service agility of the public cloud combined with the security, performance, and cost-effectiveness of a private cloud. Download this MIT Technology Review paper to learn more about how all-flash storage is transforming the data center.

    Download
  • Ongoing Efforts in Veterans Health Care Modernization

    This report discusses the current state of veterans health care

    Download

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