coworkers at computer (SFIO CRACHO/

Fed employers failing to attract young adults, lawmakers say

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.


Reader comments

Fri, Jan 1, 2021

The children of baby boomers are not interested in federal employment because they would have tp put down their cell phones and turn them off; work a 40 hour work week at the least and pay attention to details in regards to their work assignments. They will also have to learn that they are not entitled to a prize for doing nothing of importance to the mission of the organization. They would have to grow up and fit into an organization rather than sit and look clueless. This is not all of that generation but a good majority.

Fri, Dec 18, 2020

Everyone from the White House (regardless of Party), Congress and feds are a favorite whipping post for the media. The evils do not come from federal employees - look at who makes the laws we have to enforce. God Bless those who made the government their career- in spire of no appreciation from those who are the first to cry if their checks are not posted, their taxes not returned and there "free stuff" not there fast enough.

Thu, Dec 17, 2020 Maggie WA

We used to have good, reasonably priced childcare on campus. That's important to the around 30 age group and the grandparents in many cases as well. They provided very educational staff and programs. Apparently that was too convenient and after many successful years it was shut down. I knew some of the people who packed up and got jobs with (higher paying) companies, that also offered in house childcare, that otherwise would have stuck around. Family first ...

Thu, Dec 17, 2020 Reality

Promise participation prizes that should work

Thu, Dec 17, 2020

The generation that was created by liberal polices is less worried about jobs and more concerned with xbox and participation prizes

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