Gov Career

By Phil Piemonte

Blog archive

Speak to us, Gen-X

According to numbers released this week by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average tenure of federal employees has dropped from 11.5 years in 2000 to 7.9 years in 2010.

Some of this drop can be attributed to the rising number of retirements among Baby Boomers. And maybe some can be attributed to the more transient nature of subsequent generations of employees. (Plus the workforce is getting bigger, so there’s that statistical thing about “regressing toward the mean” that draws down the average as more individuals enter the total pool.)

However, federal jobs seem to continue to be rather highly coveted—especially in this particular job market, at least judging by the numbers of fed wannabes who swamp federal job fairs.

In comparison with the average private-sector job, federal jobs have a lot going for them, including relatively dependable raises, good health care and retirement benefits, and—for many jobs—a clear career path.

So while the average tenure might be dropping this year, and maybe for a couple more, we’re wondering if younger feds are planning to stick around as long as the Boomers did —and will begin to drive that average back up.

So, young Gen-X and Gen-Y folks, what’s the plan?

Posted by Phil Piemonte on Sep 17, 2010 at 4:02 PM


Reader comments

Thu, Sep 23, 2010

I'm 28, have been in federal service for 6 years, and plan to stick around until retirement. The government has been very good to me. I was hired the year after college graduation under an Outstanding Scholar program that put me on a career ladder. I have already experienced several different positions and assignments. I have reached the top of my career ladder and am happy with my responsibilities, pay, and benefits. My job stability gives my husband the flexibility to take riskier positions at start-ups and work-from-home jobs. It is a great relief to know we can count on my income and benefits when he is between jobs in this uncertain economy. I will definitely stay in federal service though I expect to keep changing positions over the course of my career, and I am grateful the government allows me the opportunity to move around and try different things while staying with the same overall employer.

Tue, Sep 21, 2010

I am a Baby Boomer, started working as a GS after retiring for active duty navy. After working as a GS since 2002, I have come to get along well with some Gen Xer's and not care for others. The reason I think I feel this way is because the work ethic has changed over the years for the worse - alot of the younger generation feels entitled to the best work assignments, the best work equipment, and the best pay. Well, that is not always going to cut it in the work force - experience is very important where I work (non-IT, all clerical).

Mon, Sep 20, 2010 Joe Nashville, TN

As a 59 year old, the government has been a great place to have been over the past 36 years. I am blessed to have the option to retire when I want to now, not when I have to. I just hope the FERS folks have as good of opportunities as we under CSRS. I started a year after college and haven't looked back. Yes, there is good job security and benefits in government and the hours leave good time for family. Good luck to then new folks entering the workforce.

Mon, Sep 20, 2010

I'm 39 and serving 20 to life with the feds - in other words, a gen-xer in for the looooong haul. I used to be a chef; when I hit 30 and got married I decided I didn't want to be a chef for the rest of my life. Plus, fed benes like sick leave, family leave, health care, retirement, flex time and such made leaving foodservice a no brainer.

Mon, Sep 20, 2010 41 year old fed Maine

I'm in it for the long haul. I'll work for the federal government as long as they'll have me. The job security is unparalleled in state government or the private sector, and I have a feeling that I am making a difference and helping to improve our world. Good luck getting that feeling working for big (or small) business!

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