The U.S. government faces a critical shortage of skilled technology workers – a shortage of nearly 300,000 in cybersecurity alone. Agencies are hard-pressed to compete for candidates with security expertise, as skilled baby boomers leave the workforce, and younger workers gravitate toward higher-paying private sector jobs.
No single agency can remediate the IT workforce gap. Rather, the answer to the federal IT workforce challenge lies in a truly integrated and cohesive cross-agency strategy. Toward this end, the President’s Management Agenda (PMA) lays out three goals aligned to this objective:
The PMA specifically highlights “increased utilization of cloud-based solutions” as a way to drive the needed cross-agency interactions in support of these goals. A complete cloud solution can be part of a comprehensive strategy involving people, processes and technology. Let’s explore each of these elements:
Public sector IT departments can’t fix the workforce shortage alone, nor can their HR counterparts. The solution requires the combined efforts of multiple stakeholders, as well as a fundamental change in culture within agencies that embraces cross-agency opportunities for improved workforce management.
This starts with the individuals at the top: department heads and line of business leaders within agencies who are willing to look across traditional siloes for opportunities to support of interagency capabilities. Internally, agencies need to better develop teams comprising all the major players who will take responsibility for developing a thorough, workable, and long-term roadmap to build the modern federal workforce.
Interagency efforts can only grow and flourish when specific individuals champion these programs. Culture change is first and foremost a people-driven endeavor.
To effectively build and sustain a modern workforce in a competitive employment landscape, federal agencies need to streamline and update processes to align with goals around recruiting, hiring, training and retraining skilled workers. Better processes can help ensure more predictable, adaptable, and competitive IT workforce management capabilities. The long-term solution lies in agencies leveraging and adopting technologies that can streamline the hiring process and facilitate a collaborative, “people-based” approach.
We can look, for instance, at a cloud-based human capital management (HCM) system as one example of how technology can help agencies better manage the entire talent lifecycle. As a recent Gartner report notes, HCM can streamline recruiting and onboarding, help employees with career planning, and support agency leaders in their long-range workforce planning efforts.
Just as modern HCM applications can help leaders improve the entire IT workforce lifecycle, additional technologies can help address a range of workforce-related needs that reach across multiple federal agencies.
One common struggle involves the routine nature of much IT work. Patches and systems updates—while vitally important to security—can be tedious for talented and eager young tech workers. Agencies can help address this challenge through the deployment of autonomous cloud technologies. These, in turn, free up talent to pursue more mission-critical and engaging tasks.
Technology can likewise help drive job satisfaction by enabling IT workers to deliver a higher level of citizen service. Many who go to work for government are driven by a sense of mission—the desire to serve the greater public good. By implementing Oracle’s FedRAMP-authorized service cloud, IT workers can help government better solve problems and meet constituent needs. The net result: employees feel empowered and are more apt to remain engaged.