Report: Acquisition workforce increases

The number of contracting specialists in the federal government increased nearly 7 percent between 2001 and 2007, according to a report released today by the Office of Management and Budget.

In its annual report for fiscal 2007, the Federal Acquisition Institute said there was net increase in the contracting workforce of 1,826 employees, from 26,608 in 2001 to 28,434 last year.

FAI also reported that more 50 percent of contracting workers governmentwide will be eligible to retire during the next 10 years.

In a conference call today with reporters, Paul Denett, administrator of OMB’s Office of Federal Procurement Policy, said civilian agencies are projecting the need to hire more acquisition workers in the coming years based on a preliminary assessment of figures recently supplied to OMB by agencies. However, those projections seem “a tad modest…. We’re waiting for some agencies to go back and complete all the information. Some are resubmitting,” Denett said.

Defense Department officials are still “in the middle of completing assessments so they know the right number to hire,” Denett said.

The FAI report also showed that the average age of the acquisition workforce is decreasing. Contracting specialists in 2007 averaged about 46 years of age, and 60 percent were female.

FAI’s annual report identifies trends in acquisition workforce data by occupational series, employment level, grade and educational level, and it shows turnover and hiring for fiscal year 2007. This year’s report includes general information on program and project managers in addition to contracting officer technical representatives, OMB said.

Established in 1976 under the Office of Federal Procurement Policy Act, FAI is charged with fostering and promoting the development of a federal acquisition workforce.

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