UPDATED: OPM: One-third of government workers near retirement age

Editor's note: This story was updated at 5:20 p.m. July 20, 2006, to add information from OPM Director Linda Springer.

A research brief from the Office of Personnel Management reports that nearly one third of full-time, white-collar government workers are now close to retirement. The report, which was released July 18, tracked workforce changes and composition from 1994-2004.

Since 1994, the largest percentages of increases in the federal workforce were in the 50-54 and 56-59 age groups, which increased 6.1 percent and 5.6 percent, respectively. The average age of retirement in 2004 was 58.7.

The brief found that the number of employees opting for early retirement was below average in 2004, with only around 7,600 workers accepting an early out, far below the 10-year average of 12,208 a year.

The average age of hiring has also increased from 34 for new hires and 37.5 for prior hires in 1994 to 36.5 for new hires and 39.5 for prior hires in 2004. Most new hire positions tended to be white-collar jobs. The increased age and experience also boosted the average at-hire GS ratings and salaries. Most new hires were in areas of patent/trademark work and with biological sciences

OPM Director Linda Springer said she wants to make new hiring a priority under her watch.

“OPM has recognized the federal government needs to alter its hiring practices to attract a new generation of individuals,” Springer said. “We must accommodate those who may wish to have more job mobility within the federal civil service or more flexible work hours.”

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