The “generational diversity” problem

A new report from the Partnership for Public Service reports that the federal workforce lacks “generational diversity”:

… employees younger than 30 make up only 8.5 percent of the federal workforce, compared to 23.2 percent of the U.S. workforce overall, based on data from the Office of Personnel Management.


The data suggests that agencies will continue to struggle in attracting students educated in science, technology, engineering and math because of the salary expectations of those individuals, according to the report. Nearly 46 percent of those students expected to earn more than $55,000 per year, a level significantly higher than the starting salary of between $32,000 and $43,000 for most government employees with undergraduate degrees.

and finally …

… the government should use internships and volunteer opportunities as a way to maintain interest in federal employment.

I’ll make three additional points:

  1. Young people want to work for the federal government. I know many of them. The federal government hasn’t been hiring, and retirements haven’t occurred at expected rates, so this is a flow problem: the average age must go up when intake is low and outflow is also low.
  2. Vet pref doesn’t help. If new civilian employees come from the ranks of enlisted demob, most of those from the enlisted ranks arrive at an older age.
  3. More troubling is the number of younger potential-applicants who choose to pursue careers in the nonprofit sector or with public sector consultancies or contractors like Deloitte, Lockheed, etc.