Federal Manager's Daily Report

Major federal agencies continue to struggle in planning for the IT workforces they will need in the future, GAO has said, with most major agencies having made limited progress at most on five of the eight key strategies identified by GAO.

GAO’s report on the 24 CFO Act agencies—Cabinet departments and the largest independent agencies—is the latest in a long line of studies, administrative initiatives and changes in law designed to help agencies better assess the skills they already have on board and fill current gaps as well as prepare for upcoming needs.

It found that the greatest progress has been made toward the goal of developing competency and staffing requirement, with full implementation at 12, substantial implementation at another four and partial implementation at the rest. Also, all but one agency each has at least partially met goals of regularly assessing competency and staffing needs and assessing gaps in competencies and staffing.

However, only four have made even partial progress toward establishing and maintaining a workforce planning process, only five toward developing strategies and plans to address gaps and only nine toward implementing activities that address gaps.

By agency, Defense, and SSA had made at least partial progress on all eight strategies and HUD had made at least minimal progress on each, while the EPA had partially implemented one, had minimally implemented another three and had not implemented the others. Other agencies that had made no or only minimal progress on at least five of the eight included Commerce, Education, Energy, Interior, Justice, Labor, Transportation, GSA, NASA, NSF and OPM.

“Agencies provided various reasons for their limited progress in implementing workforce planning activities, including competing priorities (six agencies), and limited resources (three agencies),” it said. “Until agencies make it a priority to fully implement all key IT workforce planning activities, they will likely have difficulty anticipating and responding to changing staffing needs and controlling human capital risks when developing, implementing, and operating critical IT systems.”