Federal Manager's Daily Report

Federal agencies “need staff with mission-critical skills” but despite some steps to address shortages, shortages are hampering certain agencies in particular and the same is true of some occupations government-wide, GAO has said.

“Congress has recognized the importance of maintaining a high-performing, highly skilled workforce by providing agencies with additional tools and flexibilities. For example, it gave agencies the ability to offer special incentives to employees to help agencies recruit and retain the employees they need,” it said in a posting on its site.

The posting noted that GAO late last year reported on those authorities, a report that found that those incentives are little-used.

Across government, it said, there is a need for “more employees trained in the STEM fields –science, technology, engineering, and math–as well as in economics and acquisition. Without employees who possess these skills, it’s challenging for agencies to meet their missions.”

Among agencies, the VA’s Veterans Health Administration for example “is facing human capital challenges that hamper its ability to effectively serve veterans. For example, there are skills gaps within medical centers’ human capital offices, and some human capital staff are inadequately trained.” Similarly, Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration “is facing shortages of staff with particular skills” to manage strategic materials.