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FCW : August 30, 2014
The federal IT community has got- ten a tremendous amount of atten- tion lately, but one critical issue has been missing from the conversation: the massive IT workforce transition that will take place in the next few years as the government begins to integrate the millennial generation. Forty-eight percent of federal IT workers are over the age of 50, and 32 percent are projected to become eligible for retirement by 2017. Mil- lennials, de ned as people born between 1980 and 2000, currently constitute just 10 percent of the federal IT workforce, while private- sector employers have twice that representation. The government cannot afford to continue to under-represent this critical group, not only because of upcoming retirements but also because this "digital- rst" generation has the potential to bring signi cant technical innovation to the delivery of government services. Our research shows that millen- nials require a different set of hiring and engagement strategies. Here are a few key steps that agencies can take to stand out and in uence this critical demographic. 1. Use social media, but don't overestimate it. Although millen- nials are more likely than other gen- erations to use social media to learn about organizations, our research shows that less than a third of mil- lennials actually trust the informa- tion they receive there. Across all generations, job seekers place the most trust in friends and family, underscoring the importance of using employee advocates to build potential applicant pools. 2. Don't stop recruiting once you get a résumé. Millennials participate in the same number of job interviews as candidates from other generations, but they receive 12.5 percent more offers. Therefore, agencies should create employment brand messages that help candi- dates make informed decisions based on the agencies missions. 3. Optimize your website for mobile. Millennials are more likely than other generations to use mobile devices to learn about employers. The number of people looking at job listings and prospec- tive employers on their smartphones and tablets will continue to grow, but a striking two-thirds of organi- zations have yet to optimize their career websites for mobile devices. 4. Emphasize personal develop- ment. Our research shows that future career opportunities are one of the most important attributes in this generation s decision to select an employer. Candidates need to see opportunities to learn quickly and make a difference on the job. However, just 36 percent of federal employees under the age of 30 are satis ed with their opportunities to get better jobs in their organizations, according to the Of ce of Personnel Management s Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey (FedView). To close that gap, managers should highlight potential career maps and growth opportunities to give mil- lennial candidates and employees a sense of longer-term options. 5. Encourage creativity and innovation. According to our research, innovation and empow- erment are also very important to millennials. Innovation is a particu- larly strong engagement driver for IT employees. However, FedView shows that just 35 percent of federal employees under 30 believe that cre- ativity and innovation are rewarded. Millennial IT workers have unique perspectives to bring to discussions about the delivery of government services, and their managers need to ensure that their perspectives are considered and respected. Millennials have an important role to play in accelerating progress toward the future of government services in the digital era. With an understanding of what millennnials look for in a job, agencies can adapt their recruitment and engagement strategies to attract and retain this key segment. ■ Building the next generation of federal tech talent IT teams across government are preparing for the future, but in doing so, they need to give special consideration to the millennials The "digital-first" generation has the potential to bring significant technical innovation to the delivery of government services. 8 August 30, 2014 FCW.COM Commentary JEAN MARTIN AND KRIS VAN RIPER JEAN MARTIN is an executive director and KRIS VAN RIPER is a managing director at CEB, a member-based advisory company.
September 15, 2014
August 15, 2014