OPM will survey federal employees working with AI to determine the key skills and competencies needed to utilize the technology governmentwide.

OPM will survey federal employees working with AI to determine the key skills and competencies needed to utilize the technology governmentwide. Emilija Manevska / Getty Images

OPM announces survey to analyze AI in government jobs

The move marks the second step in a years-long process to prep federal agencies for working with artificial intelligence.

The Office of Personnel Management last week announced the latest step in a years-long effort to prepare federal agencies for artificial intelligence: surveying federal workers already dealing with AI.

The 2020 AI in Government Act requires OPM to identify the key skills and competencies required of a federal employee working with AI, including the creation of new or revision of existing job series associated with artificial intelligence. And President Biden’s 2023 executive order on AI requires federal agencies, including OPM, to ensure that AI is used safely and securely, as well as conduct a “national AI talent surge” to recruit feds who specialize in the new technology.

Last July, OPM completed the first step of its work, identifying 43 general and 14 technical competencies required for work with AI. And in a memo last week, Veronica Hinton, OPM’s associate director for workforce policy and innovation, announced the HR agency’s next task: surveying current federal employees who are already working with AI to confirm OPM’s initial list of skills.

“The OPM artificial intelligence job analysis survey represents the next phase of the study and will be used to validate the AI competencies identified by technical and human resources subject matter experts as needed for performing AI work governmentwide,” Hinton wrote. “OPM plans to issue the OPM AI Job Analysis Survey today, the results of which will be used to develop an AI competency model.”

Targeted for the survey are federal employees doing AI work at the Office of Science and Technology Policy, chief information and chief data officers, along with other technical and subject matter experts across government. Feds who work with AI but who have not been contacted via email to complete the survey may email competency@opm.gov to be added to the list.

Later in the process, OPM may revise occupational series—or create new ones—to incorporate AI-related skills, as well as determine both how many federal employees are working in positions related to AI at each agency, and conduct two- and five-year forecasts of how many feds in AI jobs each agency will need to hire or otherwise employ.

“Agencies will have the ability to identify AI talent with the needed skillsets to meet their missions and strategic goals,” Hinton wrote. “The newly validated AI competency model will serve as the foundation for assessing, hiring, developing and promoting talent into newly emerging work roles as well as enhancing the federal workforce skillsets. OPM’s AI competency model will also inform the creation of an AI competency framework through our partnership with the National Science Foundation.”