A new Federal Employee Defection and Fallout PulsePoll found pay freezes, the current political environment and the prospect of a better salary in the private sector are driving 50% of federal employees to consider employment outside of government. 50%. One in two government employees is considering leaving, what can the government do to buck the trend?
Lisa Dezzutti is the founder and president of Market Connections. She told Chris Dorobek on the DorobekINSIDER program that she was initially shocked by the 50% number.
"I thought it would perhaps more around the 30% range, but we have done a little digging since the survey results came in and we really started to see this trend last fall after the impact of sequestration, the shutdown and I think people have become sick and tired of being sick and tired. There is a big difference between considering leaving and actually leaving, but folks that never thought about leaving their government job before are thinking about it now, because of what they have been through," said Dezzutti.
Top three reasons for considering leaving government:
- 44% said the federal employee pay freeze. It has been three years since they have had a pay raise and 1% is what was implemented this year.
- 41% said the frustrating political environment.
- 34% said the belief there were better salaries in the private sector.
"76% said they believe that the loss of institutional knowledge from retirement, employees leaving and not being replaced would ultimately erode mission effectiveness. Currently, about 40% said they are having difficulty now meeting their mission, because they are not being given sufficient staff and are not being able to replace staff as they leave. But when survey respondents looked ahead that number jumped up to 76%. Our mission effectiveness is going to be hurt because we are losing institutional knowledge and losing talent. Your A players will stick around for awhile and try to solve the problem, but when they get frustrated and don’t see change, your A players will leave. The A players are the ones that are leaving government first and the agencies are feeling the impact," said Dezzutti.
What is the impact of losing the A players on recruitment?
"It becomes much harder to recruit talent. I don’t think government has ever had a particularly easy job of recruiting talent. We have done a number of research studies to try to figure out what they need to do to attract people, and now that job has become infinitely more difficult," said Dezzutti.
Is stability gone in government?
"The events of last year not only undermined overall public confidence in our government, but federal employees themselves have lost that confidence. Feds also feel the pressure of lost public trust. All of these things are weighing heavily on morale. Low morale is going to affect productivity and peoples commitment to their work, that is when you start to see that loss of talent. Managing morale is going to be job number one for many federal managers this year," said Dezzutti.
Any bright spots in the polling?
"The bright spot here, particularly for the contracting community, is that there might be more opportunity to help federal agencies do more with less. If the government doesn’t have the in-house talent, contractors can supplement that," said Dezzutti.
Two year budget deal, some stability?
"I do think we are moving in the right direction with the new budget agreement. I don’t believe we are going to see another shutdown. 2014 is going to be a year of transitioning to higher ground and we will see the real positive impacts in 2015," said Dezzutti.