Challenges in federal government recruitment

Talent acquisition is about the right candidate for the right job. In the government sector, it is important to attract candidates who want to serve the communities where they live. However, it is not always easy to match candidates with the opportunity. Federal government hiring problems boil down to three challenges: an aging workforce, outdated recruiting techniques, and non-competitive compensation.

Aging Staff

The federal government workforce is getting old. Many retirement-age employees stay on the job only to create challenges for recruiters who need to fill public service jobs with career-oriented candidates. According to a workforce analysis, human capital officers attempt to attract younger workers but often get swept up in bureaucratic rules and poorly designed policies. In fact, only 17 percent of federal workers are under 35 years of age and more than one in four are over 55.

Antiquated Classification System

Federal workers are assigned a category from a system that dates back to 1949. Over the years updates have been made but the archaic rules continue to present challenges to agencies who force workers to fit in categories to satisfy policy rather than hire workers for positions based on talent. Unfortunately, there is no exact government-wide policy on hiring.

Lack of Cyber Savvy 

The federal government operates in a digital era of smartphones and social media. Most of their employees grew up before the internet was invented. That doesn’t mean older people aren’t computer savvy, but the truth is, younger people use technology more and have grown up with expectations in the digital era. Right now, millennials make up roughly 20% of the federal workforce. The government falls short in customer service, user experience, and response time.

Unoriginal Talent Acquisition

As the government-sector is trying to catch up with modern hiring techniques, valuable employees slip away. When asked, state and local employees found online job advertisements were most effective for new recruits. Employee referrals came in second, as another common method to recruit government employees. Talent recruiters must market the government workforce experience beyond compensation in order to compete with competing companies.

While most government candidates are drawn to public service because they want to make a positive impact, others may be put off because the process is too lengthy. Often federal government hiring problems start because human capital data does not integrate with other agencies and can slow down the process and limit the ability of a recruiter.

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