Federal Manager's Daily Report

The White House budget proposal says that long-running demographic trends in the federal workforce are continuing, including a shift to more jobs that are professional in nature and a workforce that is top-heavy in age overall and especially so in certain occupations.

The federal employee average age of about 46 is about four years above the private sector average, it said, where 29 percent are older than age 55, with 15 percent already eligible to retire and 30 percent eligible to retire within five years.

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“Coupled with longstanding, additional challenges stemming from a fragmented hiring process—challenges that have be¬come further complicated and cumbersome for applicants and agencies alike—agencies face obstacles as they seek to recruit, hire, engage, and retain early career talent in particular in high-demand career fields, and in certain geographic areas,” it says.

Among those fields, it says, is IT, where an even higher percentage, 16.5, is already eligible to retire—in contrast to the 3.6 percent in that field who are under age 30.

The budget pointed to the administration’s move to revitalize internship programs—which commonly serve as gateways to future employment in the agency—and enhanced hiring flexibilities for recent college graduates as steps to increase that younger contingent, which government-wide has grown from 8.1 to 8.3 percent in the last two years.

The budget also pointed out that 60 percent of federal employees are in occupations ranked highest in terms of private sector salary, 37 percent in those ranked in the middle and just 3 percent of those ranked lowest—in contrast to 38, 51 and 11 percent of private sector workers.

About 30 percent of federal employees have a master’s degree or above while only about 11 percent have a high school diploma or less education, compared with about 12 and 38 percent in the nationwide workforce.

In terms of GS grades, it noted that in 1950 more than half of federal employees were GS-4 or below compared to less than 5 percent today, while more than half are GS-12 or above today compared to less than 10 percent then.

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