Senior Executive Service: The best time to apply? NOW!
The Senior Executive Service (SES) is the highest level of civil servants in the federal government. For perspective, these top-level positions are considered on an equal level with general officers in the military. The SES was created in 1978 under the Civil Service Reform Act (CSRA).
The goal of the Civil Service Reform Act and the SES was transformation of the government at a time when the public had doubts about leadership. Watergate, among other events, had left Americans with a shaken faith. The CSRA was designed to restore faith in government—and the SES would lead the way.
The Senior Executive Service consists of men and women charged with transforming the government. Leaders who possess the required skills, honed from years of executive experience, are committed to public service and highly sought after to fill these roles.
Senior Executives are key positions serving directly under top presidential appointees. They provide the link between the highest level in the executive branch and the federal Civil Service workforce. In total, 75 federal agencies fall under the banner of Civil Service and the SES. The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) provides daily oversight of the development, selection, and management of these top-level executives.
The SES is the highest career level in government and it provides the necessary continuity in the executive branch—especially in an election year during which the incoming President embarks on the process of selecting their cabinet.
In addition, President Obama signed an Executive Order in December of last year designed to provide continuity of the executive branch and the SES. Requirements for the Executive Order will be phased in over the next three Fiscal Years (FYs). Seven agencies in FY 2016, seven more in 2017, and the remainder in 2018.
Here is the breakdown of agencies required to implement the reforms and the timeline:
By September 30, 2016:
- The Secretaries of Defense, Energy, Health and Human Services, and Housing and Urban Development
- Veterans Affairs
- The Administrator of General Services
- The Director of OPM
By September 30, 2017:
- The Secretaries of Agriculture, Education, Labor, and Transportation
- The Administrators of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, The Environmental Protection Agency, and The Small Business Administration
By September 30, 2018:
- The Secretaries of State, The Treasury, The Interior, Commerce, and Homeland Security
- The Attorney General
- The Administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development
- The Directors of OMB (Office of Management and Budget) and,
- The National Science Foundation
According to these excerpted portions of the Executive Order, Strengthening the Senior Executive Service, by the respective date specified above, the heads of these agencies shall:
(i) Establish an annual talent management and succession planning process to assess the development needs of all SES members ... career development, and executive reassignments and rotations.
(ii) Proactively recruit individuals for vacant SES positions and regularly review those recruitment efforts at the Deputy Secretary (or direct designee) level on at least a quarterly basis ... Establish a mechanism to track, and raise for appropriate senior-level attention, information about each position that agencies are seeking to fill ... and timeliness of the hiring process.
Use the talent management and succession planning process described in section 3(b)(i) of this order and agency hiring plans to inform these recruitment efforts; and develop a tailored outreach strategy for proactive recruitment for key strategic positions;
(iii) Require supervisors of executives in their agency to work with their subordinate executives to update EDPs (Executive Development Plans) ... and
(iv) Establish a formal Executive Onboarding Program informed by OPM's Enhanced Executive Onboarding Model and Government-Wide Executive Onboarding Framework, which shall provide critical support and guidance to executives through their first year of service in new positions.
Further, President Obama’s proposed budget increase for the 2017 FY is expected to add an additional 30,700 positions in the federal civilian workforce. That is a 1.5% increase in manning for the upcoming FY.
The largest increase is expected at the Securities and Exchange Commission. The increase is due to the requirements of the 2010 Dodd-Frank Act, which increases oversight of Wall Street. (How Many Jobs Would Obama’s Budget Add at Your Agency?)
Although not all positions are at the Senior Executive level, and there’s no way to gauge just how many are, these changes present opportunity for you if and when you aspire to the federal Civil Service or the level of Senior Executive Service.
If your goal is to apply to the SES, the above dates and agencies identified will assist you with planning. The Office of Personnel Management has the information you need to apply. The Executive Core Qualifications (ECQs) are listed on the website with a brief explanation of each so you can write your resume and optimize for best results.
CareerPro Global stands ready to assist you in your career aspirations. From providing career coaching to developing executive-level resumes to optimizing ECQs, our experienced writers and career coaches will provide you with exceptional customer service and the finest self-marketing resumes in the business.
For more information and assistance with application to the Senior Executive Service, click right here and our highly trained staff will walk you through the entire process.
Barbara Adams is the President and CEO of CareerPro Global, Inc. (CPG). She has been on the leading edge of SES application development for decades. Committed to providing world-class service, she has also built an SES writing team that has assisted more than 2,500 clients develop their application materials. Ms. Adams has been featured on T.V. and radio and as a presenter at numerous career conferences. She is the co-author of the book, Roadmap to the Senior Executive Service: How to Find SES Jobs, Determine Your Qualifications, and Develop Your SES Application. Learn more.
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