Get a Life

By Judith Welles

Blog archive

Get a Life!: Incentives help

The government’s use of monetary incentives to recruit, retain and relocate employees must be helping. At least we can hope so because agencies using those incentives significantly increased the number and amount in 2007, the most recent reporting year.

With the retirement wave of departing workers, agencies have been under pressure to retain and recruit employees to fill staffing needs. Financial incentives have been part of the arsenal of ways to attract workers for several years. The Office of Personnel Management reported to Congress that, last year, use of those incentives increased by more than 95 percent over the previous year.

Overall, 41 federal agencies paid 32,484 recruitment, relocation and retention incentives worth more than $207 million in calendar year 2007. Incentive payments ranged from $1,500 to $20,000, depending on the skill level of the position and type of incentive.

Agencies paid recruitment, relocation, and retention incentives to employees in critical occupations such as health care, engineering, security and information technology.

The single occupation for which recruitment incentives were most used was patent examining.

Retention incentives were used to retain employees in health care, engineering, security and information technology management occupations.

The use of retention incentives was spread over a wide range of grade or work levels. More than 53 percent of the recruitment incentives paid to General Schedule employees were used to recruit new employees into entry- and development-level positions (e.g., at GS-05 to GS-09), and more than 76 percent of relocation incentives used for General Schedule employees were paid to employees in intermediate- and upper-level positions (e.g., at GS-11 to GS-14).

An agency may pay a recruitment incentive to a new employee or a relocation incentive to a current employee who must relocate to accept a position in a different geographic area when the agency determines a position will be difficult to fill without an incentive.

A retention incentive may be paid if the agency determines the unusually high or unique qualifications of the employee or a special need of the agency for the employee’s services makes it essential to retain the employee, who would otherwise leave federal service.

Posted by Judith Welles on Sep 23, 2008 at 12:13 PM


    sensor network (agsandrew/

    Are agencies really ready for EIS?

    The telecom contract has the potential to reinvent IT infrastructure, but finding the bandwidth to take full advantage could prove difficult.

  • People
    Dave Powner, GAO

    Dave Powner audits the state of federal IT

    The GAO director of information technology issues is leaving government after 16 years. On his way out the door, Dave Powner details how far govtech has come in the past two decades and flags the most critical issues he sees facing federal IT leaders.

  • FCW Illustration.  Original Images: Shutterstock, Airbnb

    Should federal contracting be more like Airbnb?

    Steve Kelman believes a lighter touch and a bit more trust could transform today's compliance culture.

Stay Connected

FCW Update

Sign up for our newsletter.

I agree to this site's Privacy Policy.