Government 2.0 Club is an informal organization focused on convening the tribe of technologists and thinkers focused on applying social technologies to the governments worldwide.
Your perspectives on the demographic shift from Boomers to Gen Y
July 9, 2010 at 6:53 pm #105217
I am an editor with FierceGovernment
IT and I am currently working on a story about the coming
demographic shift in government as large numbers of Boomers go into
retirement and gov. looks to hire the next generation. It seems the two
biggest challenges are retaining the knowledge of those retiring while
adapting to the needs of the new workforce.
I would like to hear the perspective of both seasoned Government IT veterans and the new Gen Yers that have entered into careers in government.
1. How will this generational shift affect government?
2. How will the gov. hire and compete for new talent?
3. How does Gov/Web 2.0 fit into all of this?
4. Is government doing enough to embrace new tech to recruit and retain professionals?
Thanks for your help.
July 9, 2010 at 7:18 pm #105235
Are you looking from feedback from GenX as well? As a member of this group, I’m hoping that agencies will embrace these changes more than they have up until recently. I think it’s beginning to happen, but too slowly for my taste.
As someone who has worked in various sectors (private, corporate, not-for-profit AND state/federal government) over my career, I have had a unique opportunity to see the workplace within the numerous organizational constructs out there.
Government is really a totally different animal, with a different culture. If government wants to capture the newer generation they will have to move more quickly, more transparently and adapt in a more proactive–vs. reactive–capacity.
I’m hoping that goverment (as an entity) will. As a Gen X’er, the generational shift is exciting to me–and could be for others in my group–as I believe it will present numerous and wonderful opportunities for us to take part in government organizations.
Time will surely tell if this will be the case…but in today’s world time is an extremely precious comodity, something that government has not treated as such in the past. Will it treat it as such in the future?
I’d be interested in others thoughts on this.
July 9, 2010 at 7:22 pm #105233
I think the government will compete for new talent specifically because it lags so far behind when it comes to new media. The challenge of taking an older agency, often with years of data and information still in paper form, and transforming it to be open and accessible to constituents is an exciting (though large) one. As the next generation comes in and brings its sensibility of wanting content and data available, they’ll transform how people expect to interact with government.
My experience with question #4 is that although government does not initially embrace change, and especially doesn’t embrace the openness that comes with Web 2.0, they quickly come around and do work to retain tech professionals when they see the results.
Hope that helps.
July 9, 2010 at 7:34 pm #105231
First thing is to think more collaboration! As the Gen Yers start to take command there is going to be a tremendous move to a more collaborative America in general. Gen Yers are the products of a social media conscious society who have vast access to a mass of information steep in collaboration and dialogue. In other words Gen Yers are probably talking more or should I say texting as a form of two-way communication. Just look at the potential of Fedspace coming out in the fall. One could just imagine the impact of government agencies finally talking to each other a scary thought…
I believe the Federal government will use more adaptive social media outlets to market position requirements and solicit resumes and generate interest in Federal positions. I have to say this Administration and its public service push will aid this effort
The gov/Web 2.0 will result in a continued use of Silicon Valley technology initiatives that will reflect areas of technology such as advance searching of vast amounts of data, dashboards fed by this data and more transparent of information to us citizens. Empowerment is key with this new access to information; leading to a more informative decision process for voters. I believe that government is quickly moving to embrace at senior levels, but there are still some who are somewhat risk adverse to change. Retaining Gen Yers into the government establishment with a clear defined mission is needed. Seems everyone wants a valued purpose in the lives, Federal service could be it for some.
July 9, 2010 at 8:02 pm #105229
To echo Lori: you are missing a vital component when you skip over Generation X. This is the group that is between the two worlds and has an interesting perspective on both.
July 9, 2010 at 8:13 pm #105227
I completely agree. To both you and Lori, I do actually want your opinions, not so much the Boomers (are there any even on this site?). I phrased that poorly in my discussion header.
To clarify I do want to hear from Gen X since you bridge the gap and will actually be the leaders in the change in Gov.
July 9, 2010 at 8:27 pm #105225
I should add that I’m Gen X as well.
I think we’re the transition. By now many of us have enough seniority that the older government folks trust us. I think we can introduce the concept of social media in terms they understand, rather than making it seem like just a hip, young thing to be doing. We make hip respectable.
Right now I think the Gen X folks have the uphill battle of taking the establishment and making it a bit more open: getting paper online, making it searchable. In a few years, the Gen Y people are going to walk into jobs where the initial conversion to online data is done, and they’ll have the fun of making it more accessible and presented more interestingly. I think in a few years more organizations will also be open to collaboration and feedback from constituents.
July 9, 2010 at 9:23 pm #105223
Am a “boomer”, at least a very early one… Been through several generational movements and generally speaking(and I am of the mind set that generalities are significantly dangerous) my generation is probably not a whole lot different than the GenX and the Gen Y. Probably because as I was mentored by the “greatest generation” and I and my peers have mentored the GenX and the GenX have mentored the GenY’s. …
On to your questions…
1. Probably no more affect on the government than on the private sector. MUCH bigger impact on the workplace is various economic issues. To somewhat of a lesser degree will be the how the different generations react to the changes in the economic conditions. I suspect that this incoming generation having survived the “great recession” is probably going to be more “tuned” in to such issues as advancement opportunities, and job security than the Gen X group.
2. The government will always be able to hire and compete for new talent if it keeps the message tuned to what is motivating people to come on board. Probably will be few times when the government can compete effectively on a salary basis, but can compete effectively on “making a difference”, or training opportunities.
3. IMO Gov/Web 2.0 is simply another communication tool that SHOULD be used to cross what some people perceive as the generational gap. But if there is poor communications using another tool probably won’t make much difference.
4. Probably doing enough to retain the required professionals to insure continuity. Turnover is good in both sectors, private and public. Government and MOST corporations are rather close to the same as far as risk avoidance, although there are exceptions especially in both sectors, especially in the smaller government entities and private companies.
July 10, 2010 at 3:19 pm #105221
I have to agree with Lori, as a college graduate with two years of experience, my generation wants things to happen in quicker time. Time is money and I don’t want to invest in time wasters. I want to be valued with time and priority. I am sure this is something that gov. will begin to do with a fresh perspective generation arriving.
Thanks for your intreresting post,
July 12, 2010 at 12:19 am #105219
@Eric – I put my comments into a blog posting that you may find useful. https://www.govloop.com/profiles/blogs/cease-fire-at-the-generation
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