Fierce Talent Competition Puts Spotlights on Benefits

For federal agencies, what was already tough competition for talent has gotten even tougher with the advent of what is being called “The Great Resignation of 2021.”

Beginning early in the year, in the wake of the winter wave of COVID-19 cases, the nation has seen a surge of people quitting their jobs. The surge peaked in April but has remained “abnormally high” throughout the year, notes the Harvard Business Review. At the end of September, there were more than 10.4 million job openings, compared to 6.6 million a year earlier.

The end of the surge is not in sight. According to a recent report from careers site Monster.com, a startling 95 percent of U.S. workers are considering changing jobs, looking for career growth opportunities or simply better quality of life.

There is no reason to believe these sentiments are confined to the private sector.

“The hiring process is long and complicated, the current workforce is aging and the competition for top talent is fierce,” states a recent report from the Partnership for Public Service.

The challenge is especially tough in key fields, such as technology, where agencies often cannot compete with the private sector on compensation alone.

So, how can agencies keep up? To remain competitive and retain current employees, government agencies should be doing their best to understand what employees are looking for – and that goes beyond pay.

In a report on “managing for retention,” the Society for Human Resource Management emphasizes that employee benefits also play a role in recruiting and retention.

That finding is also reflected in a new survey conducted by HealthEquity, the current third-party administrator for the Federal Flexible Spending Account Program (FSAFEDS), which provides tax-advantaged flexible spending accounts that federal employees can use to save on their eligible health care and dependent care expenses.

Conducted nationwide from May to June 2021, the survey asked working Americans about their attitudes around work, their satisfaction with their employer and the reasons behind their preferences. One important theme emerged: flexible employee benefits are key. We’ll explore the results of that survey in more depth in our next post.

Federal Benefits Open Season, which concludes, December 13, provides a perfect opportunity to begin exploring the possibilities of taking advantage of the flexibility offered by FSAFEDS.

Learn more about FSAFEDS.

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