Federal Manager's Daily Report

OPM’s grant of direct-hire authority in a number of STEM-related occupations has drawn support from the Senior Executives Association and two good-government groups, although they added that wider reforms still are needed in hiring and other policies.

“I am pleased to see OPM taking pragmatic steps to alleviate some of the pain points encountered daily by federal leaders when managing their organizations,” said Senior Executives Association president Bill Valdez said in a statement. “As the federal government competes with the private sector in the ‘war for talent,’ federal leaders benefit from added flexibilities, allowing for necessary short-term adjustments in areas of need, even as we maintain our focus and momentum toward broader civil service modernization.”

“Hiring is consistently cited as a top challenge and these direct-hire authorities can ensure agencies are able to recruit talented professionals to fill the demanding and evolving roles that constitute federal work,” he said.

“Currently, hiring practices in government are antiquated, overly burdensome and not competitive with the faster moving private sector. It is time for government to adapt to market trends,” said Volcker Alliance President Thomas W. Ross, calling the announcement “a positive shift in how the federal government plans to address critical hiring needs.”

“The goals of these new initiatives are consistent with the principles of Renewing America’s Civil Service,” a joint initiative between the Volcker Alliance and the Partnership for Public Service, said Partnership CEO Max Stier. “It is imperative that Congress and the White House work together to examine and legislatively address the full range of important civil service issues next year.”