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How information technology is changing the landscape for federal employees.
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Looking for a Job? Use Social Media

More hiring managers are using social media websites like Facebook and LinkedIn to connect with potential job candidates, but not as many are taking full advantage of the tools as you may think.

According to a new survey of 1,500 HR leaders and hiring managers in six countries by Dimensional Research and SuccessFactors, social media and mobile devices are being used by 39 percent of those surveyed to communicate with job candidates. LinkedIn and Facebook were the most popular social media tools, each used by 17 percent of those respondents, followed by texting (12 percent), Skype (10 percent) and Twitter (10 percent).

Social media and mobile devices are being used more heavily by HR leaders and hiring managers to actually identify potential job candidates, however. Fifty-one percent of respondents said they have used such tools and devices to identify job candidates, with resume search sites (24 percent), LinkedIn (24 percent), Facebook (23 percent) and Twitter (12 percent) being the most popular tools, the survey found.

“The hiring process is no longer just about the face-to-face or phone interview. In some industries and regions, leveraging mobile, social media and online tools is a regular part of the recruiting process,” said ...

Federal IT Workers Have Cause for Pay Envy

Federal employees already know they will not receive an across-the-board pay increase until at least several months into 2013, a deal made official with President Obama’s signing of the continuing resolution. And even if federal workers do see an across-the-board pay increase next year, it’s not likely to be higher than Obama's proposed 0.5 percent.

Unfortunately, for federal IT workers, the lack of a solid pay increase contrasts starkly with private sector counterparts, who are slated to see an average 5.3 percent increase in their salaries in the coming year.

According to the new 2013 salary guides by Robert Half International, starting salaries for information technology professionals in the coming year will show the largest pay increases among all the fields researched, including accounting, finance and administrative fields.

“Many hiring managers are struggling to ‘crack the code’ when it comes to finding and keeping the best technology talent,” the guide states. “Money may not be all IT employees consider when choosing to join or stay with your firm, but it’s certainly one of their key benchmarks.”

While IT professionals overall are expected to see average pay increases of 5.3 percent next year, some ...

Teleworking, Silicon Valley Style

Telework has been expanding across the federal government, in large part thanks to the 2010 Telework Enhancement Act. But several studies, including the Office of Personnel Management’s most recent status report on telework, have noted that cultural barriers to it still exist, in large part because managers are reluctant to trust that their employees are working, not shirking, outside of the office.

This may be one of many areas where government could learn a lesson from Silicon Valley. I visited companies such as Facebook and design firm IDEO last week, and every employee I talked to spoke about how managers at these companies have an implicit trust in their employees, and that is a major factor not only in their job satisfaction but also in their drive to perform their jobs well.

At Facebook headquarters, for example, take a look at their video game spots, Zen garden, skateboarding benches and trendy lounges and cafeterias, and you may wonder how employees there get any work done. In addition, Facebook employees have no set hours, meaning they can come to work and leave when they want.

At IDEO, employees are free to work in whatever environment is best suited for performing ...

IT Workers Are Staying Put Longer

Late last month, I wrote about a report that found a disconnect between federal HR leaders and IT operational managers over effective measures for bringing on the next generation of IT leaders.

But as agencies look to hash out how to effectively roll out succession plans for the IT workforce, it may be helpful to know that many technology workers are staying in their jobs longer than workers in other fields, Dice.com reports.

According to data released Tuesday by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the national median for employee tenure at their current employer rose from 4.4 years in January 2010 to 4.6 years in January 2012. But in the computer and electronic products industry, the median employee tenure rose from 5.9 years in 2010 to 7.7 years in 2012, BLS found.

Telecommunications employees also are staying put, going from a median tenure of 6.6 years in 2010 to 7.4 years in 2012.

Still, the BLS data suggest that succession planning may become more challenging as more and more younger employees enter the workforce. BLS found that the overall median tenure for employees age 65 and over was 10.3 years in January ...

Are Advanced Degrees Must-Haves?

Holding a Master’s degree is often considered a must-have for young job seekers if they have any hope of landing a federal job. But according to a recent survey by Dice.com, the majority of IT workers aren’t seeing these advanced degrees as critical to their careers.

The survey found that just 32 percent of IT workers think that having an MBA will be important to future tech careers, while 52 percent said an MBA is unnecessary. Sixteen percent of IT pros had no opinion on whether an MBA degree mattered for the future.

Meanwhile, those who saw the value in an advanced degree cited the benefit of combining business knowledge with technical skills, the additional career marketability and greater likelihood of advancing into management, Dice found. Those IT pros who saw no value in an MBA mostly agreed that technical expertise would continue to outweigh the benefits of having general business knowledge.

Among those IT pros who hold an MBA (9 percent of respondents), higher pay was the top reported impact of their degree, just ahead of “no impact,” Dice found. Technology professionals with an MBA said the degrees helped them move into management or obtain employment ...