How the Government Plans to Modernize its Workforce


Cloud-based tools can help woo the next generation of public sector workers.

Competing with the private sector for skilled millennials is easier said than done. Private industry offers these prized workers high salaries, flexible work environments and additional perks that the government often can’t match. But technology is helping to level the playing field.

According to recent Office of Personnel Management data, employees 55 and older outnumber those under 30 by nearly 5 to 1. Federal workers also earn 32 percent less than private-sector peers on average, and government hiring processes are notoriously sluggish compared with the more nimble recruiting efforts by private-sector employers. This creates added pressure on federal hiring managers to find ways to position government as a preferred employer.

By leveraging modern tools and innovative approaches to engaging potential recruits—including the strategic use of cloud-based technologies—public sector leaders can position themselves as employers of choice in the eyes of highly skilled millennials.

A Workforce Game-Changer

Given their aging workforce, the government needs to become proactive and more efficient in its efforts to recruit the new generation, but also engage and retain an existing workforce with institutional knowledge to identify and implement new approaches to long-standing challenges.

Federal agencies have certain inherent advantages in this game. They are natural destinations for those who are attracted to the notion of service, who seek in their professional lives to enhance the greater good. To attract this next generation of skilled workers, however, federal agencies need to demonstrate that they can offer work that is interesting and engaging, provides employees a chance to advance their skills and offers career growth opportunities.

Strategic use of technology resources can be a game-changer in this endeavor. Millennials, for example, are digital natives and have high expectations around technology: They seek tech-savvy environments and when workplace technology fails to support their personal growth and professional efforts, they’re likely to leave for new opportunities.

Fortunately, there are solutions. Think about how forward-thinking agencies are using technology today to become a more attractive employer:

  • Cloud-based talent acquisition and human capital management systems can streamline hiring processes and improve recruitment outcomes. For the employer, a comprehensive view of talent management can create new opportunities for existing workers to improve and develop their skills through ongoing professional development.
  • In the same way, cloud-based learning management systems encourage retention by enabling organizations to manage, deliver, and track training online or in classrooms. When federal agencies leverage technology to enhance ongoing training and education, they can directly improve long-term retention among IT professionals eager to continually improve their skills.
  • A cloud implementation can also ease the security burden for federal agencies. By automating many of the more mundane tasks around security, cloud-based tools can help overwhelmed cybersecurity teams free up talented individuals to pursue more high-value initiatives. This, in turn, helps to improve retention among the ranks.

Cloud-based tools offer federal agencies the means to build the government brand in the eyes of the 21st-century workforce. They’re secure, enterprise-ready, and offer seamless integration between employee-facing government websites and recruiting tools. A comprehensive cloud-based approach can smooth out and simplify the government hiring process: Recruiters get easier access to candidates, and potential employees get a more direct and often more positive introduction to the public sector workspace.

Celeste O’Dea is a business development director for public sector technology at Oracle.