Federal agencies have made "insufficient and ineffective" use of special hiring authorities that already exist and need to consider making greater use of other personnel flexibilities such as recruitment and retention incentive payments and alternative work schedules, child care assistance and transit subsidies, GAO has told a Senate hearing. The hearing focused on improving the government’s hiring system at a time when agencies are facing an exodus of retirees and shortages of employees in some critical occupations. An MSPB witness said that agencies face several challenges in recruiting and selecting employees, including the length and complexity of the hiring process, the government’s ability to market its jobs to attract high-quality applicants, the ability of government assessment tools to distinguish the most qualified candidates, and the capacity of human resources staffs and supervisors to carry out hiring programs. An OPM witness said that by September that agency will issue a new government-wide standard for hiring and that it is working on issues such as streamlining vacancy announcements, and renewed the agency’s pitch for legislation to allow retirees to come back to work without an offset between their salaries and annuities in certain situations.
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