Report: Boom expected in hiring security-cleared workers

The hiring of workers with security clearances is expected to surge the first quarter of 2007 as a result of the many multimillion-dollar Department of Defense contracts that were awarded in December, according to the first edition of the ClearanceJobs Report for 2007.

According to ClearanceJobs.com, an online recruiting service, those estimates could change because although some employers post jobs online that are contingent upon a contract award, many job seekers don’t like applying for positions that don’t yet exist.

ClearanceJobs said the job postings in December showed a strong increase in the number of positions requiring higher-level clearances. When compared to the preceding month, there were 10 percent more jobs posted requiring a Top Secret or higher clearance the final month of 2006.

The average time to thoroughly vet a prospective worker with no security clearance is 18 months, although the Office of Personnel Management has reported that clearances can take less than six months, and the agency says it is working to accelerate the process.

According to a 2006 survey conducted by Federal Computer Week, the Information Technology Association of America and a coalition of industry organizations, more than three-fourths of government contractors agreed that the need for cleared employees to work on federal contracts had increased “greatly” (51 percent) or “somewhat” (26 percent) in the past five years.

But more than half the respondents believed the security clearance process, run by the Defense Security Service and OPM, had worsened (31 percent) or not improved at all (24 percent) in the past year.

Higher-security cleared positions pay better too, according to the ClearanceJobs report. Candidates with higher clearances can earn on average $10,000 more a year than workers with only a secret or confidential clearance, it said.

According to the most current figures, slightly more than 88,000 cleared job seekers are registered with ClearanceJobs.com. There are some 79,500 contract employees working on federal information technology projects.

Of the top 10 locations seeking cleared candidates, seven are in the national capital area. Chantilly, Va., led the rankings, followed by the Washington D.C., metropolitan area; McLean-Arlington, Va.; El Segundo, Calif.; and Fairfax-Reston, Va.

In terms of salary, cleared workers sent to Iraq can earn on average $98,400, followed by $78,400 in Maryland and $76,500 in Virginia, ClearanceJobs.com said. Arizona ranked tenth at $64,400.

About the Author

David Hubler is the former print managing editor for GCN and senior editor for Washington Technology. He is freelance writer living in Annandale, Va.

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