Federal IT Staffing Mess: Budget Chaos + Aging Workforce
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User Rank: Author
9/27/2013 | 1:48:09 PM
re: Federal IT Staffing Mess: Budget Chaos + Aging Workforce
The article in no way encourages government employers to discriminate based on age. It reports the facts: that the government agency employee base is getting older and agencies need to do something about it before retirements leave them short on people and critical skills. Any good public or private sector enterprise needs to be aware of such workforce trends.
User Rank: Author
9/26/2013 | 6:41:00 PM
re: Federal IT Staffing Mess: Budget Chaos + Aging Workforce
Thanks for commenting. If anything, I think what the data is saying is that government values and rewards those over 50 (and 60!) -- and probably more so than private industry does, although I didn't research that.

I completely agree, age is not an indicator of skill, nor necessarily a proxy for experience. What the data is suggesting is that the government is becoming a less friendly/appealing place for mid-career IT folks, whatever their skill; and that that has implications for potential shortages of essential talent and future leadership candidates that mustn't be overlooked.
User Rank: Apprentice
9/26/2013 | 5:01:12 PM
re: Federal IT Staffing Mess: Budget Chaos + Aging Workforce
Your article reeks of age discrimination. At a time many 50+ programmers are being dumped, and they still have to work at least 15 more years to retire, you are encouraging employers to discriminate against based on outmoded paradigms.

While it is concerning that many employees are nearing retirement age, age itself is not an indicator of skill set. While I started in 1969 punching cards, today I am pushing out a web app that uses JavaScript, AJAX, JQuery and Dojo. There is a constant refrain among professional IT that you have to relearn your job every 18 months. I started on mainframes, went through Prime Mini and Sun Unix Servers.I now work with Visual Studio and Apple's XCode. If an employee (and that includes some in their 30's who can't get past MS Desktops) won't keep up with the technology, by all means ease them out the door. But don't make those determinations based on age alone.
User Rank: Apprentice
9/26/2013 | 4:49:35 PM
re: Federal IT Staffing Mess: Budget Chaos + Aging Workforce
You are missing the main reason that this is happening.

As an example, I'm a former IT contractor with 30 years experience.
Can't buy an interview in private industry, so I try to go civil service as I was in the Navy which is where I learned electronics and software.

But what is this?
No matter how many times I try to re-do my resume to get me in the door, I can't get in.

So I think, I will go into an entry level position like laundry, clerk, or kitchen help so that I can get my foot in the door, and then I will work my way back up the ladder.

But what is this?
I'm not qualified for an entry level position.

Still jobless after ten years of trying to get back in, and depressed simply because people can't seem to grasp the fact that we have the skills to excel in these positions.

We simply can't get past the gate keepers.

Keep America At Work
User Rank: Author
9/25/2013 | 6:40:59 PM
re: Federal IT Staffing Mess: Budget Chaos + Aging Workforce
Lots of food for thought here. "What began as a contracting method designed to
drive down government's costs has in many cases led to government IT
projects being performed by companies frequently derided as "bottom
fishers," with the talent and results to match, said Soloway."

We have seen what bottom prices buy you in the private IT sector from service providers -- and it is not pretty. Given the complex security issues at play now, this situation is especially troubling. Bottom-tier IT contractor body shops serve one purpose and it is not quality. It is cost.

Regarding the disappearing bench talent, private sector CIOs struggle to retain the upper-middle ranks too. Are government IT leaders being rewarded for talent retention? Probably not.

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