While the number of new federal hires overall is down from previous years, information technology was among the top fields in which agencies are adding new federal employees, though not necessarily new jobs, according to an analysis released Tuesday.
IT jobs made up 5.3 percent of the positions filled by nearly 90,000 federal employees hired in 2012, according to the Partnership for Public Service's Fed Figures report. That equates to more than 4,700 new IT workers, bringing the total number of feds in the IT field to 80,492, the Partnership said.
Among the top 10 occupational groups hiring new employees, IT ranked at number five, behind medical and public health (21.7 percent), administrative and clerical (14.5 percent), investigation (6 percent) and miscellaneous (5.8 percent).
Still, while agencies added new employees in a range of fields last year, it’s important to note that those increases do not represent an increase in new jobs added to the federal government, as most new employees were hired to fill the vacancies of those leaving federal service.
In fact, the number of new hires has dropped 37 percent since 2009. The rate of new hires also has not kept pace with the numbers of those leaving or retiring from federal jobs, the Partnership found.
Defense and security-related agencies brought in the bulk of new employees last year, representing 78 percent of all new federal hires. The top agencies with new hires were the Veterans Affairs (24.4 percent), Army (13.8 percent), Navy (13.2 percent), Air Force (8.4 percent) and Homeland Security (6.6 percent) departments.
Interestingly, younger workers made up a large percentage of new federal hires last year, with nearly half (43.3 percent) of all hires being under age 34. Workers over age 50 made up just 18 percent of new hires in 2012, the study found.
“Sequestration, furloughs and pay freezes dominate the news and can affect government’s ability to hire and retain top talent,” the report stated. “The federal government needs to maintain active, healthy hiring levels, if it is to preserve a world class workforce.”