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How Millennials Could Close the Federal Government Workforce Gap

Mar 05, 2018

Millennials, right? It’s a word that raises visions of hashtags, Instagram posts and emojis for many older workers, along with a relatively low opinion about what this younger generation brings to the table. We seem to forget that we were all once young. Millennials are going to be the future of our federal workforce and the sooner we get used to that idea, the better.  

Part of the problem is that, as with every generation, millennials represent change to an entity that was built on a foundation of consistency. Today many younger employees are looking to make a difference and an immediate impact. As we move forward, the older generation must adjust how they onboard younger employees and provide an environment that becomes attractive to them as a career path.

At NASA, over the next 10 to 15 years, more than 6,000 employees will be asked to step up to the highest levels of the agency; provide the agency’s strategic direction, planning and management; backfill over 10,000 vacancies; provide most if not all of the agency expertise; and advise future leaders on space policy, system development and operations, and much more.

That’s a lot of responsibility for a generation that we haven’t taken seriously enough. And those figures are for just one agency. Multiply those needs across every agency and you begin to understand the looming problem.

We need to embrace what millennials are looking for, adjust older policies to make the federal government an appealing place to work for this generation, and begin training them for the massive responsibilities that will shortly be put upon their shoulders.

Think about the perks afforded to millennials in the private sector. A flexible work week with robust telework options. A more casual working environment. A generation that values the quality of their work compared to clocking in a set amount of hours at their desks every day. Do these sound all that bad?

Incorporating more modern ideas into the federal workforce will not only contribute to closing the workforce gap, but it could also lead to a more satisfied workforce at every level.

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 Written by:  John Marinaro

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