OPM has produced a guide for agency management on pay and other flexibilities available to attract and keep employees in cybersecurity, a high-demand occupation for which the government commonly cannot match basic salaries available elsewhere.

The guide follows initiatives including the Federal Cybersecurity Workforce Strategy issued in mid-year in which OPM committed “to establishing programs to assist federal agencies in their use of existing flexibilities for compensation to recruit and hire highly-skilled cybersecurity talent,” says a cover memo from acting OPM director Beth Cobert.

The guide provides information for HR specialists and hiring managers on existing pay and leave flexibilities in a checklist format and contains examples of combining flexibilities to maximize their effectiveness, she wrote. “I encourage agencies to explore these new resources and consider existing compensation and other human resources flexibilities as you develop strategies to address recruitment and retention difficulties in your cybersecurity workforce.”

At the same time OPM issued a new online factsheet stressing the importance of non-salary factors such as work-life balance policies in federal employment, which acts as a talking points list for use in recruiting.

It highlights add-ons to base pay including special pay rates, student loan reimbursements, recruitment, relocation and retention incentives, performance awards and commuter subsidies; alternative working schedules, telework and other work flexibilities; professional development; and flexible spending accounts, leave, insurance, retirement and other benefits.