The author started out by describing how the U.S. government agencies are facing some serious challenges ahead with regards to replacing an aging workforce. He also goes so far as to state that “the federal government is not taking full advantage of opportunities to recruit or retain young people” (Young, 2008, p.74). His caveat to this is that, while managers with experience may be in place, the younger people the government is hiring may have different views than their managers. While this is often the case, what can’t be overlooked is some of the age disparities in the work force.
Granted this article was written in 2008, however his estimates are still chronologically in play. For example, “according to human resource data from the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), approximately 60 percent of the 1.9 million employees of federal agencies will reach retirement age by 2017” (Young, 2008, p. 74). This puts us right in the middle of the situation… literally.
Mr. Young went on to describe, in detail, the four overlapping generations currently in the workforce. These generations are “the traditionalists/veterans, baby boomers, Generation X/baby busters, and Generation Y/millenials” (Young, 2008, p. 75). According to the author, the traditionalists/veterans make up less than 10 percent of the workforce. This statistic seems about right, as this generation was born before the end of World War II. At the time this article came out, the baby boomers, which were born after World War II, made up about 70 percent of the workforce. This number has probably dwindled down slightly over the last four plus years, but it’s probably still fairly accurate with today’s economy being in shambles. The authors’ statistics show that most of Generation X went into the private sector, and only about 20 to 25 percent went to work for the government. He attributed the lack of Generation X to the hiring freezes, as well as the downsizing of the federal government, in the 1990s. At the time of print, Generation Y barely made up 5 percent, however I’d argue that it is probably closer to 10 or 15 percent. The boost would be replacing the traditionalists/veterans who did retire.
The author went on to make recommendations as to how best attract the Generation Yers/millenials. He led with monetary rewards such as tuition reimbursement policies, student loan repayment, and retention incentives, among others. While these are all viable options, and I have seen them used by my coworkers, I think that the non-monetary benefits such as job stability, stable benefits, and a solid work/life balance (in most job types) are more attractive to the up and coming generations. Especially, again, with the state…