Memo to the next prez: Gen ‘Y’ is ready and willing to serve

Roughly one-third of young adults seriously would consider a career in public service if asked by a parent or the next president of the United States, according to survey results released Tuesday by the Gallup Organization.

Of the respondents, 60 percent under the age of 30 reported that they hadn't been asked ever to consider a job in government. But 33 percent of the same group of millennials said they'd give the idea "a great deal of consideration" if their parents suggested public service as a vocation, while 29 percent reported they'd do the same if the next president called on them to serve.

Additionally, 70 percent of Americans older than 30 said no one had asked them to consider a government job, but 30 percent of those respondents stated they'd be more likely to give the matter serious thought if the country's new commander-in-chief requested it.

The results were released and discussed by six panelists at a May 6 breakfast hosted by the nonprofit Council for Excellence in Government and Gallup.

"This shows what possibilities there are with this new [presidential] transition," said Patricia McGinnis, president of the Council for Excellence in Government. "This is a transition that is more sweeping than we've seen in decades. No incumbent president or vice president is running, and we have new possibilities in Washington."

When asked how appealing a job in public service would be, 70 percent of those ages 18 to 29, and 53 percent older than 30 said "very" or "fairly appealing." Both age groups indicated that the best motivators for considering a public service career would be opportunities for growth and advancement based on performance (51 percent) as well as a flexible schedule and the chance to telecommute (45 percent). Millennials also said student loan forgiveness (27 percent) and continuing education benefits (26 percent) would be strong incentives for a career in government.

When it comes to exploring jobs in the federal government, respondents from both age groups said they would be most likely to look at government Web sites as their primary source of information. Of millennials, 11 percent said they would use search engines like Google and Yahoo to learn about federal jobs, compared with 6 percent of those older than 30.

Still, several panelists said Tuesday that the federal government's current processes for advertising federal jobs and hiring new applicants were too rigid and burdensome, turning off many young applicants.

Adam Lusin, a millennial who is a management analyst at the State Department, said the federal hiring process takes too long, especially when compared to private companies that can hire applicants instantly. He recommended that agencies educate potential applicants on how to navigate the government's hiring process through various sources, including online message boards and blogs and career centers on college campuses.

McGinnis added that all federal agencies could benefit from having direct hiring authority, noting the practice currently is available only to a handful of agencies. "Members of Congress and those who are shaping the rules and regulations need to be in this conversation as well," she said. "Creating this kind of flexibility is going to require a collaborative effort that goes beyond the executive branch."

Still, Warren Wright, managing partner at Gallup, warned against suggesting that the government's sole focus should be on recruiting millennials. "We don't want to leave the impression that we'll give up on anyone over 30," he said.

Elizabeth Kolmstetter, deputy chief human capital officer for the National Intelligence Directorate, said agencies should work to attract workers of all ages, noting that hiring and placing experienced workers into the executive ranks is a relatively new concept to the federal government. She recommended avoiding generational stereotypes, pointing out that government offers attractive benefits -- such as job security, career advancement and training -- to all age groups.

Lusin said the federal government had the mission and values that match the ideals of many millennials, and he encouraged agencies to capitalize on those strengths to attract and retain younger hires. "The type of work agencies do is noble and honorable," he said, "and that's not a message that is all the time communicated to younger millennials."

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:

  • 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.

    Download
  • 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.

    Download
  • 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.

    Download
  • 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.

    Download
  • 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.

    Download
  • 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.

    Download
  • 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

    Download
  • 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.

    Download
  • 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.

    Download
  • Sponsored by Cloudera

    Government Forum Content Library

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

    Download

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