Survey Shows Half of Federal Workforce Considers Leaving Government

Monday, February 24, 2014
(photo: Office of Personnel Management)

In another consequence of Washington gridlock, half of federal employees are considering leaving their government jobs for those in the private sector, a new study shows.


The online survey of 370 government employees, conducted by Market Connections and FierceGovernmentIT, showed that the top three reasons for federal employees to consider leaving are the government pay freeze, the political environment, and better salary opportunities in the private sector.


These attitudes are likely to have an impact on government’s ability to do its job. “We could see serious repercussions on mission-critical work as a result of pay and hiring freezes, lack of resources and 50% of the workforce considering leaving government,” said Lisa Dezzutti, president of Market Connections.


Other studies have shown similar trends. In recent years, the federal government itself has been taking a much larger sampling of its employees (with about 375,000 participating in 2013). The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) Federal Employee Viewpoint surveys in 2012 and in 2013 (pdf) showed that approximately 30% and 32%, respectively, were planning to leave their jobs within a year.


“Employees are unhappy with the lack of pay raises and the constant fed-bashing that they read and hear about every day in the news media, and are expressing their desire to leave these situations,” Henry Romero, a former OPM executive and now a private consultant, told the Federal Times.


Current OPM Director Katherine Archuleta admitted that, as the 2013 employee viewpoint survey showed, “Factors such as an unprecedented 3-year pay freeze, automatic reductions from sequester that included furloughs for hundreds of thousands of employees, and reductions in training and other areas are clearly taking their toll on the Federal workforce.”


These attitudes come at a time when the number of federal employees is already at the lowest number since 1966. Retirements have hit some agencies particularly hard. Those with some skillsets, such as air traffic control, are difficult to replace.

-Steve Straehley, Vicki Baker


To Learn More:

At Many Offices, Half of Staff Think of Leaving (by Andy Medici, Federal Times)

Number of Federal Employees Drops to 47-Year Low (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)

Huge Wave of Retiring Federal Workers is Double-Edged Sword for U.S. Agencies (by Noel Brinkerhoff and Danny Biederman, AllGov)


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