NAPA tackles issue of federal IT recruitment, retention

NAPA tackles issue of federal IT recruitment, retention

By Thomas R. Temin

GCN Staff

MARCH 22'Federal managers can be more creative and flexible in recruiting and retaining information technology workers than they are, the National Academy of Public Administration says.

That was one of the findings in a new NAPA study, which researchers from the Washington academy released today at the FOSE 2001 trade show. The Chief Information Officers Council commissioned the study.

Costis Toregas, chairman of the study panel, said NAPA researched IT labor practices in 30 federal agencies, 29 state governments, and six county and municipal governments, as well as some foreign governments and nonprofit groups, comparing them to practices in business. Toregas is president of Public Technology Inc. of Washington.

The study found that when government pay levels are competitive with industry, successful recruitment and retention comes from workers' perception of quality management, flexible work environment, challenging tasks and the availability of training and professional development.

Industry and, to some extent, nonfederal governments are able to make job offers more quickly than federal managers, he added, an advantage in snaring the best applicants. Still, innovation in recruitment and retention does occur in some agencies, Toregas said, citing the State Department and Social Security Administration.

The NAPA review will have two more phases. In Phase 2, NAPA will come up with possible alternative pay systems for the federal government and in Phase 3 will make recommendations to Congress and the Office of Management and Budget.

The academy plans to finish the second phase in May, acting Agriculture Department CIO Ira Hobbs said. The final recommendations are due this summer.

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