Strengthening and Sustaining the Federal Science and Technological know-how Workforce

What GAO Uncovered Strengthening human money administration at federal companies, notably people with science and

What GAO Uncovered

Strengthening human money administration at federal companies, notably people with science and technology missions, can assist businesses construct a varied, highly qualified, and agile workforce. GAO’s past do the job demonstrates 3 important locations for strengthening and sustaining the federal science and technological innovation workforce.

Strategic workforce setting up to detect gaps and future requirements. To productively employ their missions, companies need to recognize present-day ability gaps and future needs in their workforce, and decide on the right human funds procedures to handle them. Nonetheless, GAO’s prior perform has identified science and know-how workforce strategic arranging worries that businesses have not absolutely addressed. For case in point, in Oct 2019, GAO evaluated key agencies’ implementation of cybersecurity workforce setting up procedures for facts technological innovation (IT) workers. GAO observed that most of the 24 federal agencies experienced not thoroughly applied five of the eight vital workforce pursuits that GAO recognized simply because of good reasons these kinds of as competing priorities and confined sources. GAO recommended that the 18 companies absolutely employ the eight important IT workforce preparing actions. Thirteen organizations agreed with the suggestion, while the other five expressed a selection of views nonetheless, when some organizations have produced development, none have fully implemented the advice.

Increasing federal pay and hiring. Businesses may perhaps expertise difficulties in recruiting and retaining a numerous, hugely-capable workforce because of to variances in pay out compared to private sector employers and troubles connected to the employing process. Commonly, federal organizations have 7 broadly out there governing administration-broad distinctive payment authorities to assistance address recruitment and retention issues. In December 2017, GAO reported that the Office environment of Staff Administration (OPM) collects data on use of these authorities but experienced not analyzed how a great deal the authorities help increase recruitment and retention. GAO also noted that the company may perhaps be lacking options to encourage strategic use of these authorities by giving steerage and tools on examining usefulness. Equally, in August 2016, GAO documented that OPM and using the services of businesses experienced not utilised employing knowledge to review the success of using the services of authorities. Throughout these experiences, GAO created 6 recommendations to assess and make improvements to the use of fork out and choosing authorities. OPM typically agreed with GAO’s recommendations, and has applied two of the 6 tips, but has not thoroughly implemented the other 4.

Addressing components that have an effect on the federal function setting. Things influencing the performing ecosystem may well also affect agencies’ capability to appeal to, employ, and keep personnel. For case in point, GAO documented in September 2020 that men and women who encounter sexual harassment are much more probable to leave their work opportunities. Also, in March 2015, GAO noted that impediments to interacting with non-federal scientific peers due to the fact, for illustration, of restrictions on convention participation can be a disincentive to federal employment. Company officials advised GAO that researchers and engineers build their specialist reputations by presenting analysis at conferences to have their function published and, with out these opportunities, scientists may obtain federal work significantly less appealing. Addressing these types of components could enable agencies make and maintain a diverse, very-expert science and technological know-how workforce.

Why GAO Did This Study

The federal workforce is critical to agencies’ capacity to address the complex social, financial, and protection issues dealing with the United States. Nevertheless, throughout authorities, mission crucial talent gaps are undermining the means of federal businesses to carry out their missions. Federal businesses encounter the complicated activity of staying apace of advances in science and technologies although competing for talent with the non-public sector, universities, and non-gain investigation centers. GAO has had extended-standing issues about federal agencies’ strategic human capital management, an concern highlighted in GAO’s Significant Danger Sequence due to the fact 2001.

This testimony summarizes GAO’s insights centered on a huge range of GAO do the job masking several human funds management- and science and technologies-connected difficulties from March 2015 through February 2021. In certain, the statement focuses on (1) workforce organizing to support make sure companies are much better positioned to implement their missions (2) options and troubles to recruiting a numerous, significant-competent science and technological innovation workforce and (3) variables that can influence the get the job done atmosphere.

For this testimony, GAO selected prior perform throughout human funds management- and science and technological innovation-connected matters.