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Why Millennials Could Find a Perfect Match with the Federal Government
The greying of the federal-government workforce could soon create a hiring crisis as a large swath of older workers retires in the coming years and a new generation declines to fill the breach.
Simply put, most young people who are in job-search mode tend to look elsewhere, finding no motivation to vie for federal government positions that may strike them as more dreary than dazzling.
Millennials want to work some place that seems cool, like Google, or at least for a company with a recognizable name. Not that the federal government isn’t a recognizable name. But it just seems bureaucratic to them, with lots of rules and structures.
The non-profit group Partnership for Public Service reports that just seven percent of federal government jobs are held by Millennials, even though they account for 23 percent of the overall U.S. workforce.
In addition to preferring less-bureaucratic employers, Millennials also are dissuaded by the online system for applying for federal employment, a website called usajobs.gov, due to its seemingly cumbersome nature. Millennials can get lost in it. And then, if they do finish the application, it can take six to nine months for the hiring process to play out. Most of them find other jobs in the meantime.
But if they’re willing to persist, Millennials could find employment with the federal government is more desirable than they realize. Some reasons include:
• Advancement Opportunities. Federal jobs come with an enormous potential to move up quickly because about 30 percent of federal employees are eligible to retire right now, and likely will be retiring in the next three to five years. They’re holding higher positions that will suddenly open up. That means some young people who start at one of the entry-level positions could be making more than $80,000 in just three to five years.
• Benefits. Federal employees enjoy exceptional benefits compared to many other workers. Not only do they have health benefits and paid holidays, they also have both the Thrift Savings Plan (TSP), which is a 401(k)-style plan, and a pension, something few private companies offer anymore.
• Having an Impact. Studies have shown that Millennials prefer jobs with a purpose beyond making money. Employment with the federal government can provide just the opportunity they’re seeking to make a positive difference in people’s lives.
Not only would Millennials benefit from joining the federal government labor pool, but the government would benefit, too. Millennials could bring with them some of that youthful enthusiasm. They also tend to be technologically savvy. This is a potential match that would work well for both the employee and the employer.
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