In Search of Highly Skilled Workers: A Study on the Hiring of Upper Level Employees from Outside the Federal Government

In Search of Highly Skilled Workers: A Study on the Hiring of Upper Level Employees from Outside the Federal Government
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The MSPB conducted this study to find ways to improve the Federal Government ability to compete with other employers for highly skilled, well experienced and much sought after workers. This report presents findings on the hiring of new employees at the upper level grades 12 13, 14, and 15 in the General Schedule or equivalent in fiscal year 2005 and offers a number of recommendations that agencies and policy makers may consider to improve the hiring of highly skilled workers.

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Table of Contents

Executive Summary i

Introduction 1

Purpose and Focus of the Study 1

Scope and Methodology 2

Why Supervisors Hire From Outside 5

Who Were the Upper Level New Hires 9

Average Age 11

Educational Attainment 12

Supervisory Level 12

Work Background 13

Women and Minorities 14

How They Were Hired 19

Excepted Service Hiring 19

Competitive Service Hiring 20

Competitive Examining 20

Direct Hire 21

Veterans Hiring 22

Achieving a Representative Workforce 24

How They Learned About Job Vacancies 27

Why They Applied for Their Jobs 29

Reasons for Applying for Federal Jobs 30

Job Security 30

Mission of Agency and Public Service 30

Desire to Fully Utilize Talents and Have a Better Job 31

Government’s Benefits and Pay 32

Strengths of Federal Employment 32

Recruitment Incentives 34

The Importance of Knowing Applicants’ Motivations. 35

How They Were Assessed 37

Meeting Minimum Qualification Requirements 37

Evaluating Applicants for Minimum Qualifications 38

Using Selective Factors 38

HR Staff Expertise and Managers’ Involvement 40

Barriers and Challenges Encountered by Supervisors

and New Hires 43

Length of the Hiring Process 43

Complexity of the Application Process 46

Conclusions and Recommendations 49

          Appendix. PATCOB Definitions 53


Federal employees, their supervisors, agency management, union personnel, especially Human Capital officers and employees across the U.S. Federal Government may be interested in this report.  Additionally, members of Congress, and Federal managers within the Office of Management and Budget, and Office of Personnel Management that is responsible for policy making authority may find this guide helpful as a reference with human resources and civil service matters.  Additionally, students pursuing research for courses within these fields, especially public administration, human resources, employment law, organizational development, and industrial-organizational psychology may find this primary source document that deals with civil service issues helpful for assignments.

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