Senior Executive Service:

Data on Hard-To-Fill Vacancies Not Readily Available

GGD-89-72BR: Published: Apr 26, 1989. Publicly Released: Apr 26, 1989.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO provided information on: (1) Senior Executive Service (SES) positions that remained vacant for at least 120 days; and (2) why agencies were unable to fill the vacancies sooner.

GAO found that: (1) complete, accurate, and current data on governmentwide career SES vacancies were not readily available; (2) Office of Personnel Management data on SES vacancies indicated that 13 agencies had 319 SES positions vacant for at least 120 days at the end of January 1989; (3) the agencies were actively recruiting to fill 74 of the vacancies, since the agencies had already filled or abolished the remaining 245 vacancies; (4) agencies attributed delays in filling 63 of the 74 actively recruited positions to internal processing and selection activities, applicant security clearances, resolution of conflict-of-interest problems, position responsibility and organization decisions, and readvertisement to attract more qualified personnel; and (5) agencies cited low salaries, difficulty in attracting the most-qualified personnel, and competition with the private and academic sectors as contributing to their difficulty in filling SES vacancies, particularly those requiring specialized technical or scientific expertise.

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