Clearance Processing Isn’t Speeding Up Enough to Make a Difference

Despite shorter wait times, employers aren’t changing their recruiting practices.

The government has drastically reduced the processing times for security clearances, but a majority of hiring managers say it’s not enough to spark changes in their recruiting practices. In fact, with such high demand for information technology workers, many corporations and government agencies are simply hiring non-cleared IT candidates, according to a new survey by

The survey of 472 hiring managers and recruiters at corporations, government agencies and other consulting and staffing firms, found that despite the federal government reporting a substantial decline in the wait times to obtain a security clearance -- now taking 44 days on average to complete, down from 189 days in 2005 -- only 19 percent of respondents are changing their recruiting practices related to positions that require a clearance.

The majority of hiring managers (46 percent) said that final security clearance processing would need to be reduced to one month or less for them to change their recruiting practices.

Despite the decline in clearance processing times, nearly half (48 percent) of hiring managers said they have lost highly qualified applicants who’ve withdrawn themselves for consideration for positions due to wait times. That compares to 43 percent who said they have not lost qualified applicants due to wait times.

Of those respondents who said they’re hiring non-cleared candidates, 28 percent said technology positions are the most likely to be filled by an uncleared candidate, demonstrating the strong demand for tech in defense and federal jobs and another opportunity for IT pros, according to the survey.