State and Local Government Workforce: 2014 Trends

Source: Center for State and Local Government Excellence, May 2014

From the summary:
Local and state governments continue their hiring trend although their workforces are still smaller since the 2008 economic downturn; recruitment and retention continue to be challenges; and pressure on benefits continues, particularly health care.
This annual survey was conducted by the Center, International Public Management Association for Human Resources, and National Association of State Personnel Executives of human resource professionals. Two hundred ninety-eight (298) IPMA-HR and NASPE members took part in the survey, which was conducted in March and April 2014.
∙ 66 percent of respondents reported hiring employees in the past year.
∙ 55 percent reported hiring more than they did in 2012.
∙ One-third reported hiring contract or temporary workers.

At the same time, the pace of retirements quickened:
∙ 49 percent reported higher levels of retirement in 2013 than 2012.
∙ 22 percent reported employees had accelerated their retirement.

Changes to benefits continue:
∙ 61 percent reported their government made changes to health benefits for both active and retired employees.
∙ The most common changes were to shift more costs from the employer to employees (53 percent) and to institute wellness programs (31 percent).
∙ 35 percent reported their government altered retirement benefits over the last year.
∙ About one-fourth required increased contributions to pensions from both current and new employees.

Looking ahead, the majority of respondents say their top concerns are:
∙ recruiting and retaining qualified personnel
∙ staff development
∙ succession planning
∙ employee morale
∙ competitive compensation packages
∙ public perception of government workers
∙ reducing employee health care costs
∙ dealing with increased employee workloads