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A new survey of government executives shows that almost one in five considers it important to refine his or her skills to seek employment in the private sector.

The survey comes from the Partnership for Public Service, which credits Princeton, Vanderbilt and Georgetown universities for the project.

It was highlighted on Government Executive website, which reports on senior leaders in the federal government’s departments and agencies.

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The survey found more than 40% of government executives said their workforces are inadequate to deliver on their agency missions, and the problem was “political pressure.”

Also, 60% said “their workforces maintained shortcomings that created a ‘significant obstacle’ in conducting their work. They were most likely to list the lengthy federal hiring process as an encumbrance, followed by a lack of career growth opportunities for staff and an inability to compete with salaries from other employers,” Government Executive reported.

The 2020 Survey on the Future of Government Service was for executives, including Senate-confirmed appointees, presidential appointees, career and non-career members of the Senior Executive Service.

It got a response from 992 people with a margin of error of plus or minus 3.33% to 5.07%.

Ninety-seven percent said supporting their agency’s mission is an important or very important attribute of their jobs. That was followed by 72% who cited influencing public policies, 67% who said salary and benefits, 67% who said job security and 19% who cited “developing professional skills to move to a job in the private sector.”

Fifty-five percent said they agreed their agency is able to recruit the best workers. But 73% said the bureaus often lose good candidates because of the time it takes to hire. Forty-four percent said the departments effectively use internships to build a talent pipeline.

And 45% strongly agreed that there are enough workers to do a quality job, 57% said the best workers can be retained, and 61% said workers are satisfied with the performance of their agency’s contract workforce.

Eighty-two percent said the hiring process takes too long, and more than half want better career path opportunities for staff members, believe other employers offer better salaries, and don’t like the civil service rules that “prevent hiring the best candidates.”

The Partnership suggested the survey results demonstrated key areas that need to be addressed in the next administration, including leadership and stewardship, talent, innovation and technology modernization, and collaboration.

“Our government is struggling to meet many of the major challenges we face today, in part because we have neglected to invest in and strengthen this critical institution for decades,” said Max Stier, the Partnership for Public Service’s president.


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