Report: Link IT pay, skills

The government should overhaul how it compensates information technology workers to more effectively manage the government's $150 billion investment in IT, a panel of experts recommended Sept. 5.

In a final report, a National Academy of Public Administration panel detailed a new human resources management system for IT workers that would abolish across-the-board pay increases and instead link pay and compensation to performance and skills.

The system also would create a simplified four-level pay scale that bases federal IT salaries on the going rates in the private sector. Federal managers would have more freedom to set salaries for IT workers within the new pay system and to award recruitment, retention and other bonuses.

The four-level pay scale is the basis for making the IT workforce performance- and results-oriented. "If we're honest and serious about being results-oriented, how can we have across-the-board pay increases?" said Costis Toregas, chairman of the NAPA panel, speaking at the Interagency Resources Management Conference in Hershey, Pa.

The changes are needed, according to the panel, in part because of an aging federal IT workforce, a tight labor market, inadequate tools to motivate employees, a pay gap and an outmoded classification system.

In addition to a new human resources system for IT workers, the NAPA panel made nine other recommendations, such as improving the recruiting and hiring process; offering competitive benefits; promoting work/life balance programs; and supporting technical currency and continuous learning.

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