4 Ways to Attract and Keep Federal Employees—Including Millennials


There is no question that the federal workforce needs to attract diverse and talented people so the U.S. government is positioned to tackle the complex issues facing our country. That includes millennials. There are four key steps the next administration and Congress must take to ensure millennials consider public service as a career option and agencies can compete for employees of all ages.

1. Adequate Resources
Cutbacks in agency budgets have severely limited new hiring which is the first barrier to bringing in new employees. Agencies need to be funded in a manner that allows them to fill vacancies, which creates job openings and opportunities for new hires, as well as career advancement, and ensures the overall mission is completed.

2. Competitive Pay
The three-year freeze on federal pay and the more recent subsequent under-market pay increases have left agencies at a severe disadvantage in recruiting new hires. Over the last six years, federal sector wages have increased 10.6 percent while pay for federal employees increased a mere 3.3 percent. Millennials interested in public service are similar to other workers in that they too seek adequate pay, promotions, rewards, and career development and training opportunities from their employers. Federal pay and training must stay competitive with the private-sector so the government can attract a skilled and professional workforce.

3. Student Loan Repayment
Lack of funding also has led many agencies to forgo student loan repayments, which is of high interest to recent graduates. Student loan programs are key recruitment and retention tool that need to be dramatically expanded, particularly given private-sector employer practices in this area.

4. Paid Parental Leave
Congress should approve pending legislation to establish paid parental leave for federal employees. Based upon its rapid integration in private sector America, it is an employee benefit that many workers, including younger workers, are demanding.

These four steps need to be taken swiftly, so that the U.S. government can act as a fully modern and robust employer that will attract skilled millennials and talented people from all age groups.

Tony Reardon is part of the GovLoop Featured Blogger program, where we feature blog posts by government voices from all across the country (and world!). To see more Featured Blogger posts, click here. Reardon is also National President of the National Treasury Employees Union, which represents 150,000 employees in 31 agencies.

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Government has always been stupid with regard to recruitment. Instead of looking at the long term potential (ceiling), they hire employees based on fit for the posting itself (floor). When they have a new higher position open up, none of the floor candidates can qualify and the government hires from outside. Those stuck in floor jobs are often locked in as well. Small wonder why they have recruitment and hiring problems! People talk!


I mean they are going to get rid of 1800 people and there’s no information available about what they are going to do and nobody’s saying anything about it. That’s not going to attract new employees when they are expendable.


The Merit Promotion system needs to be scraped or revamped. All of the new hires I came in with that had advanced degrees have since left because managers don’t raise evals unless they like the employee. If you have a advanced degree and skippy from the mailroom has all 5s on his eval he will be hired for the position rather than the more qualified candidate. no wonder the government is broken. too much nepotism and uninterested managers who are only concerned about how the numbers look. Everyone’s volume and errors should be posted that would stop a lot of the nonsnense and management would have to justify why some people score higher evals than others if the numbers don’t match up. Im currently going for my second masters because I am always not best qualified because skippy in the mailroom gets all 5’s on his or hers evals. Wonder how many years its going to take me to advance once I have my SECOND Masters Degree…….SMH

Diversity Represented?

Which of the 5 persons in the image related to article represent any person of color…millennial’s do not seem to be a target of this article