Get a Life

By Judith Welles

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Get a Life!: Is job security still a reason to work for government?

In this age of workforce mobility, where workers change companies and jobs fairly often, how important is job security – once the key attraction of government?  The policy and evaluation office of the U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board examined this question in its current Issues of Merit newsletter.

In a survey of entry- and upper-level new hires, the MSPB found that the most important factor in their decision to work for government was job security.  It was the number one factor regardless of a person’s age, even for those coming directly from school.  

The next important factor, although it trailed behind by comparison, was advancement opportunity.  Following that came the desire for challenging and interesting work.

Job security was especially important for those seeking upper-level positions who had previously worked for a government contractor or had been laid off.  

The MSPB concluded that the lesson for the federal government is not to be afraid to market job security as a benefit in recruitment efforts.

Certainly, with today’s gas prices and some economic uncertainty, job security would likely be high on anyone’s list.  But what interests me even more is that nowhere on the list are those work/life balance factors such as telework, flextime, or childcare.  

Does this mean that work/life and job benefits take on more attention only when economic times are better?  

Posted on May 20, 2008 at 12:13 PM


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