Will a Longer Pay Freeze Hurt IT Recruiting?

Obama will not grant a 0.5 percent raise until Congress passes a budget.

Federal workers will have an even longer wait before they see an across-the-board boost in their paycheck, according to a letter President Obama sent to lawmakers on Tuesday.

The letter states that Obama will use his authority to give federal employees an across-the-board 0.5 percent pay increase in 2013, but the increase will not take effect until Congress passes a budget.

Lawmakers have said they plan to pass a six-month continuing resolution when they return from the August recess, meaning the government would be funded through the first part of fiscal 2013. That means the earliest federal workers could see an across-the-board pay boost is April.

Federal employees have already been under a freeze to automatic, across-the-board pay increases for the past two years.

Still, the president assured in his letter that the extended pay freeze would not “materially affect the federal government’s ability to attract and retain a well-qualified workforce.”

William Dougan, president of the National Federation of Federal Employees, noted disappointment with the president’s decision. “After two years of frozen pay, retirement cuts and diminished budgets, federal employees are reaching the end of their rope,” he said. “Four more months of frozen pay is four months too many. The president said it himself when he asserted that ‘a permanent pay freeze is neither sustainable nor desirable.’ ”

The president has asserted that the pay freeze will not have an effect on recruitment and retention, but will it? What impact could this extended pay freeze, which could very well go on for longer than four months, have on the federal IT workforce?