Survey: Young people interested in government work

Report: Within Reach...But Out Of Synch

More than one-third of young workers aged 18 to 29 have an interest in working for the government, according to a survey conducted by the Council for Excellence in Government and the Gallup Organization.

The survey polled 2,596 people and found that 34 percent of the Generation Y range said they were interested or extremely interested in working for the government. Another 24 percent responded neutrally. Meanwhile, 30 percent of scientists, engineers, attorneys and other professionals -- called "government go-gets" to reflect their value to public service -- were interested or extremely interested, and 26 percent were neutral.

"The challenge remains in attracting managers to the federal jobs," the council wrote in a report detailing the survey results. Only 17 percent of managers were interested or extremely interested.

The survey also sought to figure out what new federal employees most wanted in their jobs. Growth potential led the field for Generation Y, with 55 percent rating it better than 4.0 on a 5-point scale. "Intellectual stretch" ran a close second at 49 percent. The government go-gets and managers rated compensation and benefits highest -- 51 percent and 53 percent, respectively -- with intellectual stretch finishing second at 47 percent for go-gets and 46 percent for managers.

According to the survey, the most recognizable agencies did not necessarily generate the most interest among respondents. The U.S. Postal Service, Internal Revenue Service and Social Security Administration were among several agencies that almost all the respondents were familiar with, but few wanted to work for them.

The council plans to hold a series of conferences in 2007 to explore a strategy for using the survey data in recruiting.

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