Report: Agencies saw net gain of contracting experts in 2005

Federal Acquisition Institute report

Although the federal contracting series of civil service employees lost 2,108 people in fiscal 2005, hires exceeded losses by 653. A new report from the Federal Acquisition Institute (FAI) shows that the fluctuations have seesawed from year to year since at least fiscal 2000.

The contracting series -- one of six federal civil service designations that together make up the acquisition workforce -- lost fewer than 2,000 positions for the first time in five years in 2000. By fiscal 2003, losses edged above 2,000 again: 2,197 in 2003 and 2,443 in 2004.

Hires have not always exceeded the losses. In fiscal 2000, 2001 and 2003, the government recorded net losses of employees in the contracting series, while in 2002, 2004 and 2005, there more hires than losses.

Other facts included in the report:

  • More than half of the federal acquisition workforce will be eligible for retirement in less than a decade.
  • More members of the contracting series are college graduates: 69 percent in fiscal 2005 compared to 67 percent in 2004.

Meanwhile, the average age of internal hires in the series is 44.6, while external hires average 33.7.

“FAI is an excellent resource for federal government agencies as they address current and anticipated workforce issues,” said Lurita Doan, the General Services Administration’s administrator, in a written statement. “Through initiatives such as this annual workforce report, FAI enables GSA and other agencies throughout the government to provide their acquisition experts with training and leadership development.”

This report shows trends in the federal acquisition workforce broken down by occupational series, employment level, grade, educational level, turnover and hiring. The data in the report comes from the Office of Personnel Management's Central Personnel Data File.

“The report provides vital statistics on the current acquisition workforce that identifies areas FAI can complement with its other programs such as specialty training and outreach efforts,” said FAI Director Karen Pica, in a statement.

For example, the data shows that 54 percent of contracting professionals will be eligible to retire in 2015. "Now agencies can plan recruitment and educational programs to ensure appropriate resources are in place to support their customers and continue their missions," she said.

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