Federal employees are leaving but hiring is shrinking, too

September 11, 2014

For years Washington, DC has been besieged with multiple calls to cut the size of government. A recent Partnership for Public Service report using data from the Office of Personnel Management showed that the number of employees leaving federal employment are almost as high as the lack of federal hiring.

Federal hiring goes south
A recent Washington Post story described how the entire workforce in the federal government has been declining precipitously since 2011 after major growth during the first Obama Administration. However, the number of federal workers is still larger than it was during the Bush presidency. This is causing concern among civil service staffers who are fearful that governmental agencies won't be able to provide quality service to the ever-increasing United States populace with the smaller staffing contingents.

Who's leaving?
According to the OPM, in 2008, 83,000 people left the employ of the federal government. Last year the number was 114,000. That's a 37 percent uptick in departures, and the number of hires has fallen to 77,000 from a high of 140,000 in 2009. Many factors were given for the losses. Baby boomer retirement, layoffs, resignations and death led the reasons for the numbers with retirements topping all of them at 54 percent. Resignations were next at 34 percent of workers who went back into the private sector for work.

Not surprisingly, during the end of the economic downturn, in the first Obama Administration resignations and retirements dropped as workers were reluctant to leave a secure government position during times of uncertainty.

Currently, the fed is bracing for even more departures. Aging baby boomers who stayed with the government during the downturn are now feeling better about the economy and opting to leave the workforce in waves, said the Post. Federal officials are hopeful the fall will bring a new round of applicants for the positions sitting empty in the nation's capital.

While there's been no word on the effect the departures are having on the operation of governmental agencies, more federal resources are being used for cloud technology, mobile applications and social media. There's also no word on when or if the government will be hiring, but IT workers should check out the federal job sites if they are looking for work. The government is expanding into many areas, and they need all the technological help they can get in order to make certain the best talent available is running the vital parts of agency life. Damage to company infrastructure can be time-consuming and costly. Damage to governmental operational protocols could be disastrous.