Parents Need to Talk to Their Kids … About Federal Service

NTEU President Colleen Kelley NTEU President Colleen Kelley NTEU

Fewer than one in 10 parents say their kids are interested in a career in federal government, according to a new survey.

The poll, conducted by Ipsos Public Affairs and commissioned by the National Treasury Employees Union, surveyed American adults with children between the ages of eight and 22. While just 8 percent of respondents said their kids wanted to work for federal government, 37 percent have encouraged their children to “consider a career with the federal government.”

NTEU conducted the poll ahead of its campaign to get parents talking to their kids about federal service. About 600,000 federal employees -- more than 30 percent of the current workforce -- will be eligible to retire by 2017, according to the Government Accountability Office. Recent studies have shown between  2 percent and 6 percent of college students are interested in federal service.

NTEU President Colleen Kelley saw this as an opportunity to engage young people in discussing the benefits of federal employment.

Parents should be telling their kids they can find the jobs they want in federal service, Kelley said, “even though that’s not the first place they think to work.” Kelley added NTEU will launch a national media campaign aimed at convincing parents to talk to their kids about the merits of federal employment.

“Parents have the most influence on the career choices of their children,” Kelley said. “We need to get parents to talk to their kids about the interesting [federal] jobs in nearly every field that will be available in the future.”

NTEU may not have to work too hard to convince parents of the benefits of federal jobs; 76 percent of respondents to the union’s survey said federal employees provide “important services to the public,” while 74 percent said federal jobs are “stable and well paid.”

Ipsos surveyed 1,071 parents from July 21 through July 28. The poll had a 3.4 percent margin of error. 

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