Execs See Problems with Recruitment, Career Development

SES members are concerned about their agencies’ ability to attract and keep top talent as well as about the level of support they receive from their agencies, including in their career development.

A Senior Executives Association-sponsored survey found for example that only 27 percent agreed that their agency has a plan to attract talent from outside government and only 22 percent agreed that their agency is well prepared to retain top talent.

Meanwhile, only 44 percent agreed that there is a strategy to develop future senior career leadership, only 26 percent said their agency identifies critical skills gaps at that level and only 46 percent said their development needs are taken into account when determining areas of responsibility.

And while the SES was originally envisioned as a cadre of mobile problem-solvers rather than subject-matter experts, only 57 percent said that senior leaders are chosen for their leadership capability in addition to functional expertise, and only 35 percent said they are chosen based on ability to inspire teams.

Another general area of concern was preparation for the future. Only about half believe their agency considers how future workforce trends affect the agency’s work, slightly fewer believe that leaders are equipped with digital skills to enhance government, and only 26 percent had positive views toward support of leader development.

About 750 SES members and others at comparable levels responded to the survey, about a tenth of career employees at those levels.