Federal Times Blogs

Top federal occupations that could see high turnover in 2017

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Federal agencies may have a tough time holding on to their program managers come 2017.

A new Government Accountability Office report ranked program management as the occupational category with the highest percentage of employees eligible to retire by 2017. For mid-sized agencies like the General Services Administration, Housing and Urban Development Department and Office of Personnel Management, 56 percent of employees involved in program management will be eligible to retire in the next three years, the report found.

At larger agencies that number is nearly 44 percent.

As more employees become eligible to retire, GAO noted that occupations like program management may face significantly higher turnover rates than others. For mid-sized agencies, here are the occupations with the highest percentage of employees eligible to retire by 2017:

1. Program Management

2. Secretary

3. General business and industry

4. Misc. clerk and assistant

5. General arts and information

6. General engineering

7. Misc. administration and program

8. Financial administration and program

9. Human resource management

10. Information technology management

For large agencies, custodial work and air traffic control topped the list of occupations with the highest number of employees who are approaching retirement. Read page 21 of the GAO report for more details.

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VA career tool may be example for other agencies

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Veterans Affairs Department employees have had access to one of the government’s best career-development tools since October.

Soon, you may see something like it coming to your agency.

Last week, top VA officials demonstrated the tool — called MyCareer@VA — at a meeting of administration and union leaders.

“When you think about your own career, there are times that you want to figure out how to get ahead, but there are also times that you may feel like you’re stuck and want to do something else,” said VA Deputy Secretary Scott Gould as he presented the website July 18 to a meeting of the National Council on Federal Labor-Management Relations, led by Office of Personnel Management Director John Berry.

Gould and Alice Muellerweiss, dean of the VA Learning University, said the website helps employees hurdle common career setbacks.

“We know that the number one reason people leave their organizations is because they cannot see their path, they cannot chart their path, they can’t set their goals, and they don’t set up their development plan,” Muellerweiss said.

The website, MyCareerAtVA.va.gov, prompts employees to plug in their skills and experience and then provides them a variety of jobs throughout the department that — with some additional training and education — could be a fit for them down the road.

Among the website’s key features:

  • MyCareer Mapping Tool. This searches for jobs across multiple occupational families and outlines what competencies, knowledge areas and skills are needed to reach an employee’s career goal.
  • MyCareer Fit Tool. This helps match specific jobs to an employee’s self-identified career interests and work environment preferences.
  • VA Career Guides. This offers employees detailed profiles of suggested jobs and offices they might consider as future steps on their career paths. For each job, it outlines what education, licensing, recommended training, and developmental experiences are recommended, based on the user’s profile.

The website is still growing and developing. Its searchable jobs inventory is about 75 percent complete and VA managers aim to get that figure to 100 percent of mission-critical jobs by next April.

OPM’s Berry said some agencies are looking at adopting similar career-development tools and looking specifically at the VA tool as a possible role model.

To learn more about MyCareer@VA, view the video below:

Executive tip of the day: banana peels

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OK, readers: You’re about to head out to an important meeting with agency brass, wearing your finest business suit, when you realize your dress shoes are all scuffed up — and you’re fresh out of shoe polish.  What’s an executive to do?

Two words: banana peels.

No, we’re not smokin’ them. Apparently, the oils and potassium found naturally in banana skins can give shoes a military spit shine in a fraction of the time — and it’s environmentally friendly, to boot!

Our newest favorite website, VideoJug, gives step-by-step instructions in hilarious detail. We’ve posted the tutorial below for your Friday viewing pleasure.

Clean Green:How To Polish Shoes With A Banana

Full disclosure: Fedline hasn’t worn shoes worthy of shining since the first President Bush left office, so we can’t vouch for the technique. Try at your own risk — and report back the results.

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The ethics pledge

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We noted earlier today that President Barack Obama wasted no time in laying out a series of executive orders designed to set the tone for an open, transparent government that is responsive to the American public.

Part of that effort comes in the form of an ethics pledge that every political appointee will have to sign. The pledge applies to all appointees brought on board after Jan. 20 — including every non-career appointee to the Senior Executive Service or equivalent systems, policymaking and confidential jobs under Schedule C, and all other noncareer slots filled by the president or vice president.

The pledge aims to close the revolving door between public servants and federal contractors and shut down the influence of lobbyists on the administration’s activities.

We’ve got the full text of the pledge, after the jump.

Read the rest of this entry »

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2009 pay raises are out!

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The widely anticipated pay raises for 2009 were just released this morning. In an executive order, President George W. Bush outlined how various pay schedules will be impacted by the 3.9 percent overall pay raise that Congress enacted. Also, the Office of Personnel Management released the new 2009 pay tables for the various localities.

Among the highlights:

  • Basic pay under the General Schedule will go up 2.9 percent. The remainder of the 3.9 percent overall pay raise enacted by Congress will go toward locality raises.
  • Among the 30-plus locality pay zones, employees in the Washington D.C.-Baltimore-Northern Virginia region will see the biggest pay hikes. Those folks will get an overall pay raise of 4.78 percent, including the 2.9 percent basic pay increase. That amounts to base pay plus 23.10 percent.
  • Meanwhile, the lowest-paying locality zone — “Rest of the U.S.” — will see overall pay increases of 3.52 percent, including the 2.9 percent basic pay increase. That amounts to basic pay plus 13.86 percent.
  • The highest-paying GS employees — which are those at GS-15 Step 10 in the higher-paying localities — will see their pay capped at $153,200, which is the pay rate for Level IV of the Executive Schedule. That’s up from the previous cap of $149,000.
  • The maximum pay for Senior Executive Service members in certified performance-based pay systems will increase from $172,200 to $177,000, while the minimum pay will increase from $114,468 to $117,787. For SES members outside of certified systems, the max goes up from $158,500 to $162,900.
  • Executive schedule pay increases from $139,600 to $143,500 at Level V, the lowest level, and from $191,300 to $196,700 at Level I, the highest level.

Now you can see what’s in your stocking for the coming year!


Want a four-day work week?

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House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer announced yesterday he believes President-elect Barack Obama may support a four-day work week for federal employees.

Such an idea has been bounced around for months, and some agencies already allow employees to telework or adjust their schedules to allow for an extra day off a week.

So, readers, would you welcome a 10-hour, four-day work week? Reactions I’ve received via e-mail are mixed. Some say they’d work harder in exchange for a three-day weekend every week, while others said the alternate work schedule would ease traffic in the Washington, D.C. area. Others criticized the proposal, saying a longer day would force them to enroll their children in expensive day care.

What say you?


The Plum Book has landed

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Looking for a job in the Obama administration? Then you should check out the Plum Book, the federal directory of leadership jobs released after every presidential election.

The book was released today and contains more than 7,000 federal civil service leadership and support job descriptions in the legislative and executive branches.

Of course, there’s no guarantee that all of the jobs will be filled when Obama takes office. It does, however, give you a look at the scope of opportunities available for you in certain sectors of the federal government (and could even help you get that ol’ resume ready!)

The glorious tradition of the Plum Book originated in 1952 when President Dwight D. Eisenhower took office after 22 years of Democratic control of the White House. The Republican Party asked for a list of previous positions so the administration knew which jobs could be filled, and the book has been published every four years since 1960.

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