I think there are several issues at play discouraging college students from attempting the federal hiring process.
- Nonprofits and private industry can hire far faster than the public sector. This is a big deal when you only have 6 months before you need to start paying back student loans.
- Until the new Pathways Program is ready, agencies are limited to hiring current students through STEP, SCEP and PMF. Unfortunately, I have always felt that these programs not well known outside of the beltway.
- The negative press about being a federal employee is growing. We have long been the punchline at cocktail parties about inefficiency, ineffectiveness and such. However, in the last 2 years, Congress has made being a federal employee incredibly hard.
I would also be interested in data related to starting salaries between private, public and nonprofit sectors. I am inclined to believe that private sector has higher starting salaries, while nonprofit and public are similar. Also the image groups nonprofit and teaching together and has a large “other” category which I believe could be an equally interesting conversation.