The GS pay system is hampering efforts to prepare federal employees for new duties rather than eliminate their positions as the nature of work changes, the MSPB has said.
While reskilling and “upskilling” are main goals of the President’s Management Agenda, barriers emerged in one of the first initiatives, involving retraining a group of mid-career employees without IT backgrounds to qualify them for cybersecurity positions, which the government for years has had trouble filling.
The training qualified them only for entry-level type positions “paying significantly less than they were currently making” and creating a disincentive for them to move into such positions, the MSPB said in a new publication.
MSPB said the GS system is based on classifying positions in grades according to their duties, responsibilities, and qualification requirements — a rank-in-position system.
In contrast, it said, a rank-in-person system compensation is based on skills, experience, education, performance and seniority and employees would not lose salary when their responsibilities change.
The SES, Foreign Service and military have elements of such a system, it added, and while such employees may “have less control over their responsibilities, duty stations, and overall career trajectories than their GS counterparts have, in most instances they will not suffer a decrease in pay when they are redeployed to meet the needs of the organization.”
Federal employees do have some protection against reduced salaries if they are displaced in a RIF, but in contrast, “the cyber reskilling initiative does not involve elimination of positions, but instead is based on employees volunteering for training and reassignment. A rank-in-position system—or at least, the current GS system—is not designed to allow voluntary movement of a mid-career employee into a new field with no loss of compensation after completion of a basic training program, even if it results in new skills and certifications. The administration will need to address this barrier if it hopes to achieve the full potential of these reskilling and redeployment programs,” it said.
See also, General Schedule Pay System for the Federal Government at ask.FEDweek.com