Meeting the Federal IT Workforce Challenge

CIO Council
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Because of technology’s role in an expanding economy, the demand for highly skilled IT workers is growing at an extraordinary pace. Employers around the country—including the federal government—are struggling to meet their needs for these workers. The tight IT labor market is well documented and reflected in its rising salaries. Also, a serious disparity exists in IT salary levels between the federal government and the private sector.

These issues create serious challenges for federal IT managers. To compete in the IT skills market, the federal government must act now to better manage its existing workforce, improve recruiting and retention, and ensure continued workforce development through investments in training, education, and career-enhancing job assignments.

This report to the Chief Information Officers (CIO) Council, by the Education and Training Committee, documents 13 recommendations to address the complex workforce planning, recruitment, retention, and development challenges of maintaining an effective federal IT workforce.

The Committee’s research results and recommendations were originally presented at a Federal IT Workforce Challenge Conference included in the Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association (AFCEA) Virtual Government Conference on February 25, 1999. Subsequently, 13 recommendations were selected for presentation to the CIO Council. These recommendations were discussed with a select group of stakeholders, including those with direct responsibility in the workforce and training areas, such as OPM, GSA, and the Departments of Labor (DOL) and Commerce (DOC), at an off-site conference on April 5 and 6, 1999.

The recommendations in this report build upon current OPM, GSA, DOL, and DOC activities and provide a blueprint for creating a federal IT workforce that brings innovation and creativity to all federal functions and improves the government’s service and responsiveness to its citizens.

Each recommendation includes pertinent background information, a discussion of current activity, and a list of proposed actions. With the CIO Council’s approval, a champion will be assigned for each recommendation and a more detailed action plan will be developed. The report also includes additional recommendations from the Federal IT Workforce Challenge focus groups that have merit and should be considered by all CIOs and other agency leadership when developing plans to address the IT workforce challenge.

(Executive Summary)