Recruitment and Retention:

Inadequate Federal Pay Cited as Primary Problem by Agency Officials

GGD-90-117: Published: Sep 11, 1990. Publicly Released: Sep 11, 1990.

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GAO examined the causes of federal employee recruitment and retention difficulties and their effects on federal agencies, focusing on 11 white-collar occupations with high national quit rates in 16 metropolitan areas.

GAO found that surveyed federal agency personnel and line managers believed that: (1) low federal pay was the most important reason employees left or applicants declined federal employment, especially in geographic areas with high living costs; (2) the availability of nonfederal jobs was the second most important reason for leaving or declining federal employment; (3) federal job security was the most important reason for staying in or accepting federal employment; (4) federal training opportunities were also a reason to accept and stay in federal jobs, especially for the nursing and professional occupations; and (5) federal recruitment and retention difficulties in selected occupations had an adverse effect on federal agency operations through reduced service delivery and productivity and increased training, recruiting, overtime, and contractor costs.

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