How federal IT managers are handling the private-sector jobs boom

The key to coping with staff cuts, low budgets and a skills gap

Federal IT managers are staring at a perfect storm: a tight budget/hiring freeze thanks to last year's shutdown and a tech job market so piping hot it could easily drain their top talent with perks and salaries the government cannot match. Simply put, federal IT managers don't have the resources to attract and retain talent like their private-sector counterparts. So how are they getting the jobs done? “Failing to capture talent, some organizations see cross-training as an effective means to increase internal skill sets,” states a new report from Accenture Federal Services and the Association of Government Accountants. “However, employees have gaps in skill areas most commonly filled through practical experience. Without sufficient budget and offerings to attract higher-skilled workers, some agencies could soon experience greater impacts as a result of its aging workforce.”

[ See also: Where to find IT jobs on social media ] [ The top 10 highest-paying IT skills of 2014 ]

Of the federal IT managers surveyed:

  • 60% said they would cross-train employees
  • 48% said they would "extend the useful life of existing systems"
  • 38% said they would turn to shared services

More than half of those surveyed anticipate more budget cuts or staff reductions. IT leaders also noted a widening skills gap among their staff. The most-needed, missing skills include:

  • Business skills
  • Creative thinking
  • Project management
  • Software skills (programming, troubleshooting)

via Nextgov

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