Hiring Trends in Federal Government

A Few key takeaways that may be of interest to students who are pursuing a career in government:
On hiring in the Federal Government in general:
  • Budgets are tight, but hiring is happening
  • Retirements are up 25% over last year.
  • Over 108,000 full-time permanent employees left the federal government last year.  107,000 were hired into those jobs.

Who was hiring?

  • Veterans Administration hired 21,000
  • Department of Homeland Security hired 77,000
  • Securities and Exchange Commission hired 131,000
  • Department of Defense specific number hired unknown, but hired quite a few.
What kinds of professions are needed?
  • Medial and public health (particularly in the Veterans Administration, Centers for Disease Control, Health and Human Services, Food and Drug Administration, National Institutes of Health, and Public Health Services).
  • Security and protection, including intelligence officers, police officers, compliance and enforcement
  • Legal profession, including paralegals, legal assistants, contract representatives, passport and visa examiners
  • Administration and Project Management, including HR, general administrative, program administration and operations.
Who will be hiring now?
  • The Securities and Exchange Commission has been impacted by the Dodd-Frank Act.  They anticipate hiring 200-400 people between now and next year.
  • Areas of hiring for the SEC include Examiners (which are entry level), Attorneys, and mission support, which includes administrative, budget analysts, human resources, etc.  They will also be hiring Economists at the PhD level.
  • The Department of Homeland Security is anticipating over 1000 hires at the GS07/GS09 level (entry level bachelors/masters), and this is their biggest area of growth.
  • Fastest growing need for DHS is Cyber Security (in line with Janet Napolitano’s talk earlier this week).  However, they will also need the same mission support positions mentioned above.
How do students get their foot in the door/find these positions?
  • the Pathways Program (the new umbrella term for the Student Career Experience Program and the Federal Career Experience Program) is an excellent way to get a foot in the door.  DHS has been given Schedule D hiring authority by the Pathways program, which means that they can noncompetitively hire a student in the pathways program based on academic excellence, versus asking a student to take a hiring exam and looking a the students’ relevant experience. Additionally, the Pathways program will be looked at carefully as a way to make deliberate workforce planning decisions.  Conversion rate of interns will be examined.
  • Any opportunity to speak with a recruiter is helpful.  The representative from the SEC suggested following the SEC on Facebook or LinkedIn
  • Both agencies indicated they would be posting on USAjobs.gov, but emphasized not to rely solely on USAjobs, as all agencies do not post there (example: the CIA does not post openings on USAjobs.gov). They encouraged interested applicants to seek out the website for the specific agency the applicant is interested in to determine where positions would be posted.

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