The government workforce is getting on in years.
Such statistics are not lost on government employers, and the public sector is making a concerted effort to attract more of the kind of young talent it needs to help lead government agencies into the future.
In January, for instance, the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) released guidance on how federal agencies can increase opportunities for paid internships, fellowships, apprenticeships and other programs designed to help students and early-career individuals pursue a career in civil service.
In June, OPM launched its Federal Intern Experience Program, with OPM Director Kiran Ahuja calling on government agency leaders to promote the initiative, which offers training, experiences, information and support to help early career talent succeed in their internships, acquire new skills and advance in their government careers.
And, within the past year or so, a number of states have relaxed or altogether eliminated degree requirements for many state government jobs, while OPM has also proposed updates to its Pathways Programs as a way to clear additional public sector career paths for early career talent.
Some new data suggests that these efforts are paying off for the public sector.
Handshake recently evaluated data gathered from a total of 508 employers registered with the Handshake platform, which connects students and young talent with career opportunities.
The analysis found that Handshake job postings from federal employers have increased by 22% in the past year, with total applications to federal employers more than doubling in that same span. The number of applications per open federal job has increased by 55% in that time, compared to 38% spike across all industries, according to Handshake, which found business, computer science, and civics and government majors accounting for the largest share of federal applicants. Students in more niche majors such as cybersecurity and epidemiology “submit a significant share of their applications to federal roles,” according to Handshake.
The Handshake analysis also found the number of applications students from minority-serving institutions are submitting for federal positions has doubled year over year, with applications from students at historically Black colleges and universities up by 110%. Overall, Washington, D.C. boasts the highest concentration of federal jobs, naturally. But Handshake found opportunities for early talent existing across the country in cities such as Chicago, New York, Atlanta and San Francisco.
While claiming that young professionals seeking their first job haven’t historically prioritized public sector jobs, Handshake sees that changing, noting that government employers “can offer many things today’s students and new grads care deeply about, including job stability, pay transparency and the opportunity to play a role in addressing critical social and environmental issues.”
In return, “early-career hires are bringing in-demand skills and new ideas and perspectives to government agencies,” Handshake added. “As more young professionals step into these roles over the next few years, the positive impact on everyone—government leaders, early-career talent and people across the U.S. who rely on government services—will only continue to grow.”
06 November 2023
HR News Article