A Golden Opportunity: Recruiting Baby Boomers Into Government
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A Golden Opportunity: Recruiting Baby Boomers Into Government

January 17, 2008

The Partnership for Public Service launched FedExperience, an initiative to enhance government’s recruitment of experienced workers and enlist potential partners to fuel interest in federal service. The Atlantic Philanthropies awarded the Partnership a grant to fund the first phase of this project. This research project was designed to assess the feasibility of attracting larger numbers of older, experienced workers into the federal government. In particular, the Partnership sought to answer several key questions:

  • To what extent is the federal government already hiring from outside government, and what proportion of new hires are older Americans?
  • Which federal agencies have successfully attracted experienced, older talent and what approaches have been most effective?
  • What are the perceptions about, and what is the interest in, encore federal careers among older Americans?
  • What are the key barriers to entering federal service that experienced workers face, and how can these barriers be eliminated or minimized?
  • What attitudes and concerns do federal hiring managers and HR officials have about seeking experienced outside talent, and what factors might discourage agencies from giving serious consideration to older workers?
  • What can and should the federal government do to attract larger numbers of mature workers?
  • How can pilot programs be designed to test how to match older workers with specific federal job opportunities, and enable these new hires to succeed?

To answer these questions, the Partnership analyzed detailed hiring and vacancy announcement data provided by OPM for 2006; conducted a nationwide telephone survey of older Americans; interviewed federal hiring managers, HR officials and recent older hires from outside government; assessed the user-friendliness of federal job announcements; researched national workforce trends and demographics affecting older workers; and talked to public interest groups.

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