If you want an IT job, the U.S. is hiring -- big time

And if you do get a job, thank a retiring Baby Boomer

WASHINGTON -- The U.S. government needs to hire more than 11,500 IT professionals over the next three years to fill critical technology jobs, many of which will be left by retiring Baby Boomers. That's according to a new study, completed with the help of federal agencies, that looks at the ages of workers and projects turnover.

The average age of federal IT workers is 48, but that's not an exceptional age for the federal workforce. The U.S. Office of Personnel Management estimated last year that approximately 40% of federal employees will retire in the next five to 10 years.

The study released Thursday by the Partnership for Public Service, a nonpartisan, nonprofit group, reports that in the fall of 2008 there were 56,500 federal IT workers in "mission critical" jobs. This doesn't include federal employment at secretive intelligence agencies, or tech workers whose jobs aren't considered critical.

In 2012 alone, some 16,500 tech workers will be eligible for retirement, according to this report.

Tech jobs in demand include systems analysis, security, application software, data management and network services.

Overall, the U.S. needs to hire 273,000 people over the next three years across all occupations. That represents a 41% increase compared to the last hiring survey in 2007. But getting hiredby the federal government can take time. Many jobs require some level of security clearance, which can delay hiring by four months or longer.

The speed of hiring can vary greatly across departments, but "in general, it takes too long," said Jonathan Kappler, associate manager for research at Partnership for Public Service, who said his organization has been vocal about the need for the federal government to pick up the pace on filling vacancies, especially as it competes with the private sector for talent.

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