Help wanted: Agencies will need 11,000 more IT workers

Aging workforce and new administration's goals to add to agency IT labor crunch

Federal agencies will need to hire more than 270,000 new employees for mission-critical jobs over the next three years, including more than 11,549 IT pros, according to a survey released today by the Partnership for Public Service think tank.

The nonprofit surveyed 35 federal agencies and found they need additional help over the next three years, both to meet the Obama administration's goals and to replace a rapidly retiring workforce. The organization identified more than 277,000 positions that these agencies will need to fill by 2012. Among the areas where talent is most needed include medical and public health (54,114 projected hires), security and protection (52,077 projected hires), and compliance and enforcement (31,276 hires).

In the field of IT, the survey identified 11,549 positions that will need to be filled by 2012. At present the 35 agencies have a total of 56,463 IT employees, about 16,454, or roughly 29 percent, of whom will be eligible for retirement by 2012. The average age of IT employees working at these agencies is 48. The Partnership defines IT positions as those covering systems analysis, security, application software, data management and network services.

The Justice Department, which currently has 2,737 IT workers, will need 428 new recruits by 2012. About 532 IT workers at the agency will be eligible for retirement by 2012. The Defense Department, excluding the individual services, will need 1,408 new recruits for its 5,746-strong IT workforce, from which 1,892 employees will be eligible for retirement by 2012.

Some contractors have complained that federal agencies are poaching contractor employees to fill their thinning ranks, according to reports.

About the Author

Joab Jackson is the senior technology editor for Government Computer News.

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