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Why Are Millennials Wary of Working for Gov? Plus your weekend reads!

Nationally millennials make up about a third of the workforce, but in government that percentage hoovers around 8%. What can the government do to reverse the trend? Tim McManus is the Vice President for Education and Outreach at the Partnership for Public Service.

He told Chris Dorobek on the DorobekINSIDER program that government needs to find a way to attract young people because the retirement tsunami we’ve been hearing about for years might actually be here.

“At some point soon we will have to start filling at least some of the positions of retiring feds. In the first quarter of this year, the number of retirement claims by employees increased every month. If we are not thinking about hiring millennials now we will be further behind the 8-ball then we already are,” said McManus.

Millennial Data Points

  • Millennials are looking for a new job or are open to new possibilities. This means that you not only have to hire them, but you have to do a good job brining them on or they will look for new opportunities.
  • 96% of millennials will discuss their job search with friends, family and social networks. So if they have a bad experience with the job process in the federal government the word will get out.
  • The government will have to engage with millennials along the way in the job process. You can just send them a note telling them you received their resume. Have to let them know where you are in the process.

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As anyone who has applied for a federal job discovers, the selection process is arbitrary and without oversight. USAJOBS is a complete waste of time. The screening questions are too specific for anyone without prior experience in government to achieve a high score and are not tailored according to the position but recycled as if every job is the same. Does the answer, “I am considered an expert, people usually come to me for advice or guidance” sound like the type of attitude you want to look for in a public “servant”? A servant would not wait for someone to come to them, they would gladly reach out to others and share their expertise or offer guidance. A humble person would also feel uncomfortable being labeled an expert – whatever that means.

On the rare occasion you manage to score a 96, you are still deemed not highly qualified and nobody informs candidates of anything except that they were not selected, if they bother to do even that. Experience and prior community or public service is discounted by hiring managers enamored with fancy titles and degrees.

In any event, there is no great urgency to fill positions because of retirements. That is a myth. Such rhetoric does not match reality.