The Future Is Now

It’s one thing to attract young people to government jobs. It’s another to keep them there.
November 2007

There’s been a lot of emphasis in states, counties and cities on hiring the new generation of the “best and the brightest.” Toward that end, some have spruced up their Web sites so that applying for a job is as simple as buying a book online. They’ve set up booths at job fairs, run newspaper ads and gone on hiring forays in neighboring cities. A number of governments send cadres of recruiters to college campuses.

Here’s the sad news: Many of these efforts aren’t dissimilar to turning on the spigots in your bathtub — while the drain is wide open.

“Our members talk about how young people aren’t staying in their public-sector jobs,” says Leslie Scott, association manager of the National Association of State Personnel Executives. “They can attract them, but they may not stay.” In Texas last year, for example, there was a 36.9 percent turnover among those who were under 30, compared with 9.4 percent in the 40- to 49-year-old group.

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