Only just above half of senior leaders say their agency is able to recruit the best employees while only a similar share say their agency can retain its best employees, according to results of a survey conducted by the Partnership for Public Service.
Just under 1,000 political appointees, career federal executives and senior career professionals responded to the survey, whose findings in many echo those of the annual Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey. For example, the group said, the survey “paints a picture of a mission-driven cadre of federal executives” who rated supporting their agency’s mission and influencing policies that are important to them more highly than their job security and their salary and benefits.
Just a fifth said developing skills to move to a job in the private sector was important to them, indicating a desire to remain with the government, as well.
However, they also similarly expressed frustration with hiring and other personnel policies: 73 percent said their agency often loses good candidates because of the time it takes to hire; just 44 percent said it effectively uses internships to build a talent pipeline; just 36 percent said leadership is held accountable for recruiting top talent; and just 32 percent said the agency has a strategic recruitment plan aligned to its workforce needs.
Fewer than half said their agency has enough employees to do a quality job and 60 percent said that “an inadequately skilled workforce is a significant obstacle to fulfilling their agency’s mission.”
Factors contribute to the latter cited by more than half include the length of the hiring process, inadequate career growth opportunities for staff, salaries that are not competitive with the market, lack of resources, civil service hiring rules and lack of a proactive recruiting strategy.
Fewer than half cited an aging workforce with a high retirement rate, political pressure to limit the size of the workforce or lack or qualified applicants.