The state of the acquisition workforce

Acquistion at a glance

The Federal Acquisition Institute publishes an annual report that analyzes trends in the acquisition workforce. Here’s a snapshot of the latest results.

Total number of contracting officers 28,434

Number at Defense Department 19,119

Number at civilian agencies 9,315

Number in Senior Executive Service92

Average pay grade11.68

Average age46

Percent female60

Percent eligible to retire in fiscal 200714

Percent eligible to retire in fiscal 201755

Percent with college degrees75

Source: Federal Acquisition Institute

When the Office of Federal Procurement Policy asked contracting specialists to take a survey, the results gave them some interesting insights.

For one thing, contracting specialists spend roughly the same amount of time on contract planning, formulation and administration.

Respondents indicating they would benefit from training in:


  • Project management.



  • Defining requirements.



  •  Financial management.



  • Negotiations.



  •  Verbal communication.


A significant number of workers with intermediate to advanced proficiencies will leave the government in the next 10 years, including:


  •  Roughly 40 percent of employees with technical competencies, such as project management and defining contract requirements.



  • About 45 percent of those proficient in general business competencies, such as negotiations.

About the Author

Matthew Weigelt is a freelance journalist who writes about acquisition and procurement.

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