Fresh ideas needed to attract IT workers, feds say

Fresh ideas needed to attract IT workers, feds say

The Army's Miriam Browning says the gap in pay isn't the only factor that hampers the government in recruiting IT professionals.

By Christopher J. Dorobek

GCN Staff

Salaries are not the only factor that keeps federal agencies from competing equally with industry for information technology workers; work conditions and other policies also factor in, government officials contend.

Even so, 'pay for IT professionals needs to be re-engineered,' said Miriam Browning, the Army's director of information management. 'There is just too big of a pay gap.'

Browning and other government officials who spoke recently at the Virtual Government conference in Washington acknowledged that government can never expect to compete with the private sector on pay.

But to give itself an edge, the government should focus on quality-of-life issues and eliminate the bureaucratic barriers that make it difficult to hire personnel, Browning said.

The government, for instance, could provide home computers for its employees as Ford Motor Corp. has announced it will do, she said. House lawmakers are considering legislation to provide free PCs to employees with a year of service. Agencies also need to pay bonuses to their best performers, Browning said.

The Chief Information Officers Council is working with the National Academy of Public Administration to study the pay issue. But Agriculture Department deputy CIO Ira L. Hobbs, co-chairman of the council's IT Work Force Committee, said agencies are not using all the means at their disposal.

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