Mixed News About Government Hiring

By CityTownInfo.com Staff
July 29, 2009

Although the federal government is expected to fill thousands of jobs in the next few years, some job seekers are questioning whether that is indeed the case.

The Washington Business Journal reports that 6,500 job seekers recently attended a federal job fair at the National Business Museum in DC sponsored by the Partnership for Public Service. According to the organization, the federal government will need to fill approximately 600,000 jobs in the next four years, including over 200,000 white-collar entry-level jobs.

"Everyone has a need," noted Tim McManus, vice president for education and outreach for the organization. "Some are similar across the agencies, with folks in procurement or acquisitions, and those managing federal contracts with private sector firms have a huge need for entry-level positions."

LaWanda Thomas, national recruitment coordinator for the Agriculture Department, told The Washington Post that she had 22 positions to fill. "We will lose 100 veterinarians over the next few years [to retirement]," she said, "and we're reaching out to college students."

There were 78 agencies represented at the event this year--10 more than last year. McManus said that the increase indicated the need to fill "crucial federal government jobs."

But The Wall Street Journal notes that reports of increased government hiring may be overly optimistic: The FDIC said it filled over 1,000 jobs and intends to fill 1,000 more. Other agencies have been hiring, but not significantly: The SEC has only 17 positions listed on the USAjobs.gov Web site, while the Commodity Futures Trading Commission and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency only list five jobs each. Meanwhile close to 30,000 financial employees were laid off this year in New York City alone.

"They say the government is hiring more," said Erik Lam, who was laid off from a financial management firm nine months ago and tried to land a job with a federal agency. "But on the other hand, when you go to the Web sites it's like well, where are the jobs?"

Lam attended a government job fair for the New York Society of Securities Analysts and found some leads. But he was frustrated to discover how long government hiring could take. He told the Journal that one lead he is currently following could "take up to a year, and when you're not working, it's not that easy to wait."

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