Federal HR Managers Report Declining Budget, Problems with Pay System as Biggest Challenges

Shrinking budgets and gaps in agency leadership skills are among the biggest challenges federal human resources managers currently face, according to a new survey of federal chief human capital officers.

The human resources professionals also reported issues with succession planning, particularly as retirements continue to increase over previous years, as well as marrying veterans’ preference in hiring decisions with the Obama Administration’s goal of increasing diversity in the workforce.

“CHCOs, like many other government employees, have had to become more resourceful and strategic as they face the challenges associated with financial and staffing constraints,” the report said. “They and their staff are expected to work closely with agency managers, from top leaders to first-level supervisors, and assist them in meeting their workforce management challenges.”

The 55 chief human capital officers also reported problems with the structure of the General Schedule as an ongoing challenge. The CHCOs recommended that the GS system be replaced with a system that has fewer job categories, each with corresponding pay bands. Since the system is not tethered to market wages or private sector salaries, agencies are often unable to offer competitive salaries in specialized science, technology, engineering, math and medicine positions.

“We found that despite the bumpy road, CHCOs are focused on helping their agencies carry out their missions with the current workforce while working to hire the best new employees they can, and are committed to ensuring that the government’s human capital needs are met,” the report said.

Based on their findings, the authors of the report recommended that Congress create a new wage and job classification system that allows managers to reward good work with salary increases. The authors also recommended Congress replace outdated hiring laws so the government can better compete for talented employees in science and technology.

The survey and interviews were conducted by the Partnership for Public Service and Grant Thornton.

Posted in General News

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