New Survey Findings Reveal That Many Workers Are Interested In Public Sector Jobs But Get Bogged Down In The Application Phase
Lately, the word crisis is being applied to public sector hiring as frequently as crumbling is attached to infrastructure, raging to wildfires or skyrocketing to inflation.
Many individual governments are hotly pursuing efforts to improve their capacity to recruit and retain good workers. As weve written, these have solid potential. But, despite these fledgling efforts, in 2022 the situation has only gotten worse, based on reliable data from NEOGOV, a technology company that contracts with 2,200 state and local governments for software application services.
In 2021, we reported on job statistics from NEOGOV that showed a 32% drop in the number of applications received for each public sector job between 2019 and 2021. At years end, the company updated that to 35%.
New NEOGOV data, made available to Route Fifty, points to an additional 56% drop in applications per open job from 2021 to 2022. About a quarter of all current public sector job postings are getting seven applicants or fewer.
Of the 299 HR officials who answered the May survey, 79% said that they were not finding enough applicants to fill open positions. Many of the results of the applicant shortage are visible. The governments said the shortages are:
- Contributing to staff burnout .
- Leading to increased overtime .
- Requiring more shared services and shared employees .
- Making cutbacks in services .
Positive Steps Forward
How To Get Hired For Federal State And Local Government Jobs
Government jobs are often viewed as being much more stable than private sector jobs. The fact that the government needs people with all types of abilities and backgrounds to work on a daily basis means that there are many opportunities available in this sector. Government salaries and benefits tend to be more than adequate to pay for living expenses, and it is common for regular pay increases to be enjoyed by government employees.
Look In the Right Places
There are a few different places to look for government jobs, but it is important for candidates to ensure that these are reputable sources before providing personal information. The official website for government employment listings is USAjobs.gov. However, this website does not provide detailed information about each agency to inform applicants about the work environment or other key factors related to the position.
Career Glider contains valuable resources for people who want to work for a government agency. The website offers jobs listings, average government salary information and other valuable details about finding employment. Information about the best business schools and other academic institutions for preparing a person for a government job is also available.
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What Is The Local Government Management Profession
Providing citizens with the services that they need on a day-to-day basis is a demanding undertaking, so many communities hire a professional local government manager. Professional managers go by various titlessuch as city manager, county administrator, town manager, and chief administrative officer. No matter what they are called, these appointed officials have the same basic mandate: to deliver public services effectively and efficiently.
Professional managers bring to the communities they serve technical knowledge, academic training, management expertise, and a dedication to public service. Managers are non-partisan, objective, and apolitical.
People attracted to the local government management profession hold dear the values of public service and ethics. These values are expressed in the Declaration of Ideals of the International City/County Management Association , their professional association. In addition to these stated ideals, ICMA members agree to a strict Code of Ethics governing their conduct.
More than half of U.S. cities with a population of more than 10,000and an increasing number of countiesare run by a combination of appointed professional administrators and elected officials.
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Description Of The Field
State and local governments oversee the provision of public services and manage many of the laws that affect citizens. Their work is personalevery project or task they oversee has immediate costs or benefits to their neighbors, friends and their own families.
State governments are responsible for the property they own, education, implementing welfare and other benefits programs, maintaining a justice system, maintaining state highways, and regulating industry. In order to spend citizens’ money wisely, governments need employees to manage budgets, forecast future economic trends, and spur development.
Local governments also provide services which directly affect the lives of their residents. Local governments administer police and fire services provide water, transportation systems, and some utilities construct and maintain streets look after health, recreational, and social needs and oversee land use that is compatible with community economic, environmental, and cultural goals. Many of these governments have finance professionals on staff. Economic work in local government service helps build and improve communities. City or county planners help envision and shape future growth, for example, and city management considers the aspirations of residents and the policy goals of the elected governing board when putting policy into practice.
State And Local Government Jobs
State and local government jobs are always available. Without counting public schools and hospitals, the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that state and local governments employ about 14 million people in the U.S., with 10.7 million of those working for local governments . That makes state and local government one of the largest employers in the country.
There are a huge range of jobs in state and local government, so it is difficult to generalize what working conditions and hiring prospects are, but some examples of occupations include working for the states department of transportation, or for the local sheriffs department. Bus drivers, trash collectors, tax collectors, judges, social workers, and firefighters also make up a large segment of this group.
For those in rural or remote communities, local governments are often the most secure source of employment, and competition can be fierce for a few jobs, especially in entry-level and clerical positions. For some positions, however, like high school teachers and community college adjunct professors, rural communities often struggle to find enough qualified people to fill their positions.
To find the specific opportunities and requirements in your area, check out the website maintained by your state or locality. USAjobs.gov also maintains some links and information about local government jobs.
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Training And Advancement In The State And Local Government
The educational level and experience needed by workers in State and local government varies by occupation. Voters elect most chief executives and legislators, so local support is very important. Taking part in volunteer work and helping to provide community services are good ways to establish vital community support. Those elected to chief executive and legislator positions come from a variety of backgrounds, but must conform to age, residency, and citizenship regulations regarding the positions that they seek. Advancement opportunities for most elected public officials are limited to other offices in the jurisdictions in which they live. For example, a local council member may run for mayor or for a position in State government, and State legislators may decide to run for State governor or for the U.S. Congress.
For city managers, a master’s degree in public administration is widely recommended. Many cities prefer but do not require a master’s degree. A bachelor’s degree in business administration, public administration, finance, or a related field is usually required. City manager candidates may gain experience as management analysts or assistants in government departments, working with councils and mayors. They may also gain experience by moving to an executive position in a government agency or becoming a deputy or assistant city manager. They may initially be hired to manage a town or a small city and eventually become manager of larger cities.
Occupations Requiring Postsecondary Education Made Up Most State And Local Government Employment
Occupations typically requiring postsecondary education for entry made up over 63 percent of state government and 61 percent of local government employment, compared with 35 percent of private sector employment in May 2020. Occupations typically requiring a bachelors degree for entry made up a higher employment share in both state government and local government than in the private sector . This category includes teachers at the kindergarten through secondary levels, which are concentrated in local government. In state government, 15.4 percent of employment consisted of occupations typically requiring a doctoral or professional degree for entry, reflecting in part the high concentration of postsecondary teachers in state government.
Occupations typically requiring no formal educational credential for entry, such as cashiers and fast food and counter workers, made up a quarter of private sector jobs, but only 4 percent of state government and 10 percent of local government employment.Annual mean wages in the private sector, state government, and local government, by typical entry-level educational requirement, May 2020
|Typical entry-level educational requirement|
High school diploma or equivalent
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Retail Salespersons Was The Largest Private Sector Occupation
Retail salespersons was the largest occupation in the private sector in May 2020, followed by fast food and counter workers , cashiers , and home health and personal care aides . The 10 largest private sector occupations made up nearly a quarter of total employment in the private sector. Only 2 of the 10registered nurses and general and operations managershad annual mean wages above the U.S. average of $56,310 these are also the only two that typically require postsecondary education for entry.
Largest occupations in state government, May 2020
Select a chart to display:Largest occupations in state government, May 2020
Secretaries and administrative assistants, except legal, medical, and executive
Project management specialists and business operations specialists, all other
Child, family, and school social workers
Police and sheriff’s patrol officers
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State Government Had A Higher Share Of Stem Jobs Than The Private Sector
State government had a higher share of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics occupations than the private sector, and local government had a lower share. STEM occupations made up about 7 percent of private sector employment in May 2020, compared with nearly 12 percent of state government employment and less than 3 percent of local government employment.Distribution of STEM employment in the private sector, state government, and local government, by type of STEM occupation, May 2020
|Type of STEM occupation|
Drafters, engineering technicians, and mapping technicians
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Educational Instruction And Library Occupations Made Up Over A Third Of Local Government Jobs
Educational instruction and library occupations made up 20 percent of state government employment and nearly 38 percent of local government employment, compared with less than 2 percent of private sector employment. State and local government also had higher shares of protective service and community and social service occupations than the private sector in May 2020. Sales and related, food preparation and serving related, production, and transportation and material moving occupations accounted for a greater proportion of employment in the private sector than in state and local government. Life, physical, and social science occupations made up less than 1 percent of jobs in the private sector, but nearly 4 percent of employment in state government.Annual mean wages in the private sector, state government, and local government, by occupational group, May 2020
Life, physical, and social science
Arts, design, entertainment, sports, and media
Food preparation and serving related
Building and grounds cleaning and maintenance
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Slower Wage Gains And Less Nimble Hiring Processes Create Challenges For Many States And Municipalities Trying To Fill Job Vacancies
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U.S. employers have added jobs at a historically robust pace since emerging from the pandemic recession, with a notable exception: state and local governments.
The nation lost about 22 million jobs in March and April 2020, or 14% of the total, when the Covid-19 pandemic first hit the U.S. economy. Total payrolls started growing in May of that year, and the overall labor market had more jobs than in February 2020, according to the Labor Department.
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Occupations In The State And Local Government
Service occupations made up the largest share of employment in State and local governments, accounting for 32 percent of all jobs . Of these, police and sheriff’s patrol officers, correctional officers and jailers, and fire fighters, concentrated in local government, were the largest occupations . Professional and related occupations accounted for 21 percent of employment office and administrative support occupations accounted for 19 percent and management, business, and financial occupations constituted 12 percent.
State and local governments employ people in occupations found in nearly every industry in the economy, including chief executives, managers, engineers, computer specialists, secretaries, and health technicians. Certain occupations, however, are mainly or exclusively found in these governments, such as legislators tax examiners, collectors, and revenue agents urban and regional planners judges, magistrates, and other judicial workers police and sheriff’s patrol officers and correctional officers and jailers.
Judges arbitrate, advise, and administer justice in a court of law. They oversee legal processes in courts, apply the law to resolve civil disputes, and determine the sentence when guilt has been established in criminal cases. Magistrates resolve criminal cases not involving penitentiary sentences, as well as civil cases involving damages below a sum specified by State law.