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Federal Government Needs Massive Hiring Binge, Study Finds

Federal Government Needs Massive Hiring Binge, Study Finds

Steve Vogel | The Washington Post via YellowBrix

September 03, 2009

Intelligence agencies expect to hire 5,500 people in the next year and “in the same order of magnitude” over the following two years, according to Ronald P. Sanders, chief human capital officer for the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. Such agencies include the Central Intelligence Agency and the National Security Agency.

“It’s a combination of how much turnover we expect and how much growth we expect in our budget,” Sanders said.

The nation’s unsettled economy and high unemployment rate may ease the government’s task, as workers turn to the federal sector for job security and good benefits. But Stier said many federal agencies will have to fight to attract top talent, particularly in fields in which government cannot compete with private-sector salaries.

“Most are going to see extreme competition with the private sector,” Stier said. This could be especially true in fields such as medical, legal and information technology, he said.

Top Areas in Which the Federal Government Is Hiring

Yet federal hiring remains a cumbersome process for many agencies. “Fixing the hiring process is a key component in making it work,” Stier said.

“Most government agencies have been historically passive, announcing jobs and waiting for people to line up,” said Sanders, who served as associate director for policy for the Office of Personnel and Management before joining the national intelligence office.

But Sanders said Obama’s vow to make government service “cool” and federal efforts to streamline the hiring process should leave the government in good stead to make the hires.

The Department of Homeland Security expects to hire for 65,730 positions by 2012, an increase of more than 48,000 from the previous three-year period.

The Justice Department is expecting 4,000 new positions among law enforcement personnel, correctional officers and attorneys in the 2010 budget, said Mari Barr Santangelo, chief human capital officer for the department.

But, federal officials said, the ultimate accuracy of the hiring projections will depend on whether current employees retire as predicted.

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