Estimate: Government to make 125,000 new hires
The estimates below could be in flux, as President Obama said Friday he can't rule out furloughing federal workers or keeping government jobs vacant to save money.
The federal government will make approximately 125,000 new hires for full-time, nonseasonal jobs during this fiscal year, according to new estimates.
About two-thirds of the new hires will replace approximately 82,000 full-time workers who are set to leave the government during fiscal 2011, while the rest will be for new positions, according to the Partnership for Public Service, a nonpartisan think tank. The Washington Post maintains a content partnership with the Partnership as part of our coverage of the federal government.
The estimate is lower than the government's hiring boom of recent years, according to Partnership Vice President John Palguta.
"Predicting federal hiring numbers is an art rather than a science," he said, especially because federal agencies are operating under a continuing resolution that prohibits them from conducting official hiring projections.
So how did he craft an estimate?
First, consider the federal government's recent job turnover history in full-time, permanent, non-seasonal positions:
FY 2006 - 107,853
FY 2007 - 108,604
FY 2008 - 104,643
FY 2009 - 82,692
1st ½ of FY 2010 - 44,209
Then, look at the government's recent hiring history for full-time, permanent, non-seasonal jobs:
FY 2006 - 91,552
FY 2007 - 99,335
FY 2008 - 136,791
FY 2009 - 142,687
1st ½ of FY 2010 - 58,893
More than 77 percent of the hires in fiscal year 2010 occurred at four departments -- Defense, Homeland Security, Justice and Veterans Affairs. Conventional wisdom agrees that those four departments need to fill vacancies faster than others, so it's safe to assume they will at least replace departing employees.
Then factor in other economic indicators, the likely impact of the midterm elections, and it's safe to assume that the government will "on board" about 125,000 new souls, Palguta said.
Of course, if economic conditions improve faster than expected, his estimate that 82,000 workers will leave the government could be too low, he admitted. (Sen. Ted Kaufman (D-Del.) warned that a "pent up demand" to retire could lead to tens of thousands of unexpected retirements.)
And as the government prepares to make those new hires, the Partnership is releasing a new guidebook for federal managers, called "What's My Role: A Step-by-Step Hiring Guide for Federal Managers." The guide should help managers understand what they should be doing with human resources to recruit qualified candidates while also implementing changes to the federal hiring process ordered by President Obama.
"What we've been hearing and seeing is that it's not for lack of interest that they're not engaged, it's because they're not sure what that means," said Partnership Vice President Tim McManus.
Good hiring "Is not being done consistently," he said, often because managers and human resource officials aren't working well together. The guidebook has five basic suggestions:
1.) Understand your Workforce Needs -- and understand them before you have staff openings.
2.) Partner with Human Resources -- and keep the collaborative relationship going throughout the hiring process.
3.) Recruit a Pool of Qualified Job Applicants -- keep job announcements simple and spread the word in multiple ways.
4.) Hire the Best Person for the Job -- and ensure that everyone involved in the hiring has the same goals and asks the same types of questions.
5.) Onboard the New Employee -- ensure they feel comfortable their first day on the job and know basic facts about the agency before starting.
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| October 15, 2010; 9:00 AM ET
Categories: Workplace Issues
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