Jan 28 2020

Partner and Innovate to Expand the Government IT Talent Pool

State and local agencies can forge partnerships and invest in technologies that can increase the number of qualified IT hires.

Eighty-two percent of state and local agencies reported that retirement and retention were top concerns in a 2018 survey led by the Center for State and Local Government Excellence. In 2012, only 39 percent of agencies shared that observation. This reflects a growing awareness that up to 40 percent of state government employees have become eligible for retirement in recent years, according to the National Association of State Personnel Executives.

When considering government IT jobs, the challenges are even more daunting: A rapidly changing technological landscape coupled with mass retirement could leave underfunded agencies with few options to recruit savvy young workers who may have competing job offers.

To address the challenge of recruiting a fresh, educated workforce, state and local agencies must strengthen their connections to sources of young talent outside of government and innovate to transform their operations within government.

Create a Pipeline with Technology Partners

The National Association of State Chief Information Officers and Deloitte published a study, “States at Risk: Bold Plays for Change,” identifying potential solutions for a talent shortage of government cybersecurity workers. Although NASCIO and Deloitte looked at a cybersecurity talent shortfall specifically, their findings are applicable at a high level to all IT skill competencies.

The study calls for government CISOs to strengthen relationships with outside institutions and forge public-private partnerships, teaming with institutions of higher education and the private sector.

In partnership with colleges and universities, state and local agencies can foster and support IT education. They also can establish internship and apprenticeship programs that attract and retain IT workers, the study says.

Working with the private sector, government agencies can continue to identify opportunities for outsourcing. Over the past decade, government CISOs increased outsourcing twofold or even threefold for specific functions, including cybersecurity risk assessments, audit log analysis and threat management and monitoring, the study notes.

But more than half of states do not outsource those specific functions, suggesting there may be opportunities for them to strengthen their IT enterprise, particularly when hiring qualified workers continues to prove challenging. Of course, agencies must engage in contracts that carry assured service levels for critical government operations.

By establishing a network among government, businesses and academia, agencies can initiate and improve IT transformation through information sharing and capabilities pooling.

MORE FROM STATETECH: These are the key state and local government IT trends to stay on top of in 2020. 

Cloud-based Systems Can Improve the Hiring Experience

IT innovation also can widen the pool of IT talent for recruitment. Clunky legacy systems may discourage applicants from submitting resumes to an agency, and they may limit an agency’s potential to reach qualified talent.

Cloud migration enables agencies to set plans in motion fast, regardless of location or scale. Once a solution is established, IT officials can scale up or down to meet demands and also potentially to save money.

Cloud solutions provide state and local agencies with more than just the capacity to connect with a wider audience. The cloud also helps to connect internal resources and integrate HR initiatives with the rest of the government enterprise. This connectivity can yield consistency of design and service.

A cloud-based human capital management system, for example, empowers mobility. Millennials who value capabilities to work anywhere can submit resumes from the local coffee shop or other third-place destinations if the jobs system can accept and process those resumes from anywhere.

The most effective human capital management portal provides an experience that meets customer expectations for a smooth transaction, and in so doing connects available talent and recruiters eager to discover each other.

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