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How information technology is changing the landscape for federal employees.

Looking for a Job? Use Social Media

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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 Dr. Karie Willyerd, chief learning officer of SuccessFactors. “Companies that don’t embrace these tools risk being left behind and losing strong candidates, especially when trying to grab the attention of the Millennial generation.”

Among employees who are hired, 82 percent ask for additional perks and benefits, including tech devices. For example, 17 percent of employees had requested smartphones and tablets for personal use, while other popular perks requested were free drinks (18 percent) and time off to volunteer (16 percent). 

Meanwhile, the study identified several differences among the three generations in the workplace. For example, Millennial job candidates (those age 33 and younger) were most likely to request job training (40 percent), job perks (33 percent) and flexible work hours (23 percent), while Millennial employees were most likely to request mentoring opportunities (42 percent), training (35 percent) and non-scheduled bonuses (28 percent).

Generation X job candidates, however, were most likely to ask for higher pay (36 percent), hiring bonuses (29 percent) and higher jobtitles (24 percent), while Gen X employees were more likely to request promotions (44 percent), flexible work locations (39 percent) and non-scheduled bonuses (38 percent). Baby Boomers’ requests reflected their stage in nearing retirement, with the most popular benefits requested being more vacation time (12 percent), hiring bonuses (7 percent) and flexible work hours (7 percent) by job candidates. Boomer employees were most interested in reduced work hours (14 percent), extended leaves of absence (14 percent) and flexible work locations (7 percent).

Budget Uncertainty Breeds Workforce Challenges

Workforce challenges are among the top difficulties facing the federal IT community over the next five years, largely because of the high degree of uncertainty about the future of technology spending, according to a new report from the government-industry group TechAmerica Foundation.

The latest forecast projects agency IT spending will rise slightly from $73.5 billion in fiscal 2013 to $77.2 billion in fiscal 2018. But those numbers represent a slight decrease in IT spending when adjusted for inflation.

In particular, budget uncertainty is amplifying IT transformation challenges, and this uncertainty is sure to cause some difficulty in recruiting, retaining and managing the federal IT workforce. An uptick in federal retirements, extended pay freezes and decreases in training opportunities, for example, could have an impact on agency IT programs over the next five years, TechAmerica found.

At the Defense Department, integrated training for military, civilians and contractors also is needed, and the department should require that its workers maintain a lifecycle training schedule and obtain the appropriate certifications, the forecast noted.

How important are training and workforce issues to your agency IT shop over the next five years?

Reporter Portrait for GovernmentExecutive.com

Brittany Ballenstedt writes Nextgov's Wired Workplace blog, which delves into the issues facing employees who work in the federal information technology sector. Before joining Nextgov, Brittany covered federal pay and benefits issues as a staff correspondent for Government Executive and served as an associate editor for National Journal's Technology Daily. She holds a bachelor's degree in journalism from Mansfield University and originally hails from Pennsylvania. She currently lives near Travis Air Force Base, Calif., where her husband is stationed.

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