Acquisition workforce increasing, survey says

Agencies are starting to have success in increasing the number of contracting officers, known under the General Schedule code as 1102s, to offset the impending retirement of many employees in the same position.

In fiscal 2005, agencies hired 653 more 1102s than retired, according to a new report on the acquisition workforce by the Federal Acquisition Institute.

This increase was the highest since 2002 when hires exceeded losses by 686. In 2003 contracting officer hires fell behind losses by 445 and in 2004 hired exceeded losses by only 87.

FAI, which the Office of Federal Procurement Policy Act established and is under the General Services Administration, issued its annual report showing trends in the acquisition workforce based on the employees' general schedule number. Besides 1102s, FAI looked at six other GS-series, including general business and industry (1101), property disposal (1104), purchasing (1105), procurement clerical and assistance (1106), industrial specialists (1150) and industry property management (1103).

FAI pulled the data for the report from the Office of Personnel Management's Central Personnel Data File.

'The report provides vital statistics on the current acquisition workforce that identifies areas FAI can complement with its other programs such as specialty training and outreach efforts,' said Karen Pica, FAI director.

The report found that while the number of 1102s retiring in 2005 compared to 2004 increased to 19 percent from 17 percent, the number of workers eligible for retirement dropped to 13 percent from 15 percent. The number of contracting officers eligible for retirement by 2010 is 32 percent and 54 percent by 2015.

Agencies also are promoting more employees to the Senior Executive Service in 2005. Last year, the number of acquisition managers increased slightly to 8, 463 from 8,103, while the number of SES managers in the 1102 series increased to 74 from 68 promotions in 2004.


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