Fed employers failing to attract young adults, lawmakers say
- By FederalSoup Staff
- Dec 15, 2020
With young adults—those under the age of 30—a rare commodity of only around 6% of feds, some federal lawmakers are—yet again—sounding the alarm on this perennial but increasingly sticky problem for civil service managers and the nation itself.
Indeed, according to the latest OPM statistics, persons under 30 number at less than 170,000 of federal employees counted in the breakdown. The issue was explored at a recent event, “Rebuilding the Federal Workforce,” in which a number of lawmakers and policymakers discussed reasons for the ongoing problem, due largely to a failure to make government work attractive to young persons.
The underlying causes, according to the lawmakers as reported in The Hill, range from long-noted relatively low pay compared to the private sector for many specialties, to recent ill-advised policy changes—such as forced moves of certain agency headquarters out of the D.C. area and a much-lambasted push to make it easier to fire feds. Such changes have been unbalanced by efforts to make government work a real draw to up-and-coming generations, and the results have been negative, critics say.
“The availability of [the Federal Employees Health benefits program], a retirement annuity and the [federal Thrift Savings Plan] play a large role in recruiting and retaining employees,” the OPM summary states. “The majority of participants reported the availability of these programs influenced them to great or moderate extent to take a job in the Federal Government or remain in a job with the Federal Government.”\
That said, the percentage of young feds is not growing—and the criticisms of event participants seem well-grounded in their concerns about recent moves that likely only further weaken agency recruiting and retention efforts.