Help wanted: Agencies will need 11,000 more IT workers

Aging workforce and new administration's goals to add to agency IT labor crunch

Federal agencies will need to hire more than 270,000 new employees for mission-critical jobs over the next three years, including more than 11,549 IT pros, according to a survey released today by the Partnership for Public Service think tank.

The nonprofit surveyed 35 federal agencies and found they need additional help over the next three years, both to meet the Obama administration's goals and to replace a rapidly retiring workforce. The organization identified more than 277,000 positions that these agencies will need to fill by 2012. Among the areas where talent is most needed include medical and public health (54,114 projected hires), security and protection (52,077 projected hires), and compliance and enforcement (31,276 hires).

In the field of IT, the survey identified 11,549 positions that will need to be filled by 2012. At present the 35 agencies have a total of 56,463 IT employees, about 16,454, or roughly 29 percent, of whom will be eligible for retirement by 2012. The average age of IT employees working at these agencies is 48. The Partnership defines IT positions as those covering systems analysis, security, application software, data management and network services.

The Justice Department, which currently has 2,737 IT workers, will need 428 new recruits by 2012. About 532 IT workers at the agency will be eligible for retirement by 2012. The Defense Department, excluding the individual services, will need 1,408 new recruits for its 5,746-strong IT workforce, from which 1,892 employees will be eligible for retirement by 2012.

Some contractors have complained that federal agencies are poaching contractor employees to fill their thinning ranks, according to reports.

About the Author

Joab Jackson is the senior technology editor for Government Computer News.

Reader Comments

Fri, Sep 11, 2009 Andrew St Petersburg, FL

Let people work virtually from locations not in the DC Metro area. Some people actually want quality of life. You have to accept less pay when you work for the government so it doesn't go very far in DC Metro. Not everyone likes a two hour commute in either. Right now I'm working for the only game in this town. I'm lucky and somewhat captive. At times I would have liked an option. If the Govt wants to fill their critical jobs they need to get with the times and protect themselves from disaster. We need to spread it out away from that danger zone. It just too crowded, expensive and transient in DC.

Thu, Sep 10, 2009 Another Fed

Get rid of the automated resume reviewing systems and put people back into the process. The only way to get a person to look at an application is after the computer program has already passed it. If there is a glich in the program or someone uses a regional term for thier skills, it never seen by human eyes. Have people hire people...

Sun, Sep 6, 2009

I'm a rare USAJOBS success story. After 2 years of trying, I finally got my government job. I had the required professional qualifications, obtained a high score following my resume & KSA submission, and passed the two interviews with no problems. I also had no Veterans preference to leverage, nor did I know anyone at the Agency involved with the hire. It seemed incredulous to me at the time, and I could only attribute it to "auspicious timing" after what I went through with near-hires at other Agencies. But in the end, I have to recognize the competence of the Agency's HR staff in managing the hiring process.

Fri, Sep 4, 2009 John

The other problem with KSAs is that there are persons who have others write their KSAs so that the individual seems more competent than they are. If you are hiring writers then KSAs are great but if you are looking for Technical persons you may be missing the mark. I think they need to make the interview process better and just use more specific job decriptions and requirements.

Fri, Sep 4, 2009 Ryan San Diego, CA

I was/am in the same boat. I was workig for a DoD agency at a GS11/12 level as an IT Specialist (contractor). I was bumped due to the guy coming back from overseas. I have way more knowledge than he did and he didnt even want to be in IT anymore. I have been trying to getinto the Federal government for years now. I am still trying but my odds seem better to win the lottery than evenlanding an interview for the Federal government. i work for the local government as of now. Still a government job...just not Federal government. I also think that the requirements for Federal IT positions are way too high. I know many IT professional in my field who are only certified but are very capable of fulfilling the position...just like me. We just cant seem to catch a break.

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