Flexibility, funds wanted for work force
- By Colleen O'Hara
- May 03, 2000
Greater flexibility and a bigger budget to recruit and retain workers — especially information technology workers — will make it easier for agencies
to find and keep the right people in today's tight labor market, Roberta
Gross, inspector general at NASA, said at a Senate hearing Tuesday.
For example, Gross said she would like the ability to conduct pay banding,
which would allow NASA to offer a range of salaries to employees within
a certain level, such as GS-11. The Office of Personnel Management is developing
legislation to give agencies authority to design a broad pay banding system.
In addition, government's lengthy hiring process means that agencies are
losing potential candidates, Gross said, speaking at the Senate Governmental
Affairs Committee's Oversight of Government Management, Restructuring and
the District of Columbia Subcommittee. IT security, criminal investigators
and auditors in particular are in high demand but often take months to hire.
Incentives are available, such as recruitment bonuses and retention allowances,
to attract and retain workers, but agencies don't use them very often, said
Henry Romero, associate director for Workforce Compensation and Performance
at the Office of Personnel Management. OPM is looking at making incentives
more flexible, including allowing a variety of payment methods, he said.
More money would go a long way in helping agencies deal with the recruitment
and retention problem and encourage agencies to use incentives more often.
NASA's Office of the Inspector General has only $75,000 in bonuses to spread
across 200 people.
But perhaps the most important step would be to fully implement the 1994
Federal Employees Pay Comparability Act, which called for closing the public
private pay gap over 10 years, testified Colleen Kelley, president of the
National Treasury Employees Union.