September 4, 2009 By Chad Vander Veen
The Partnership for Public Service, a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit that aims to encourage people to work in government, released a survey on Thursday, Sept. 3, indicating the federal government will need to hire more than 11,500 workers during the next three years to fill various roles in information technology.
The IT hiring projections are part of a larger report on federal hiring in general. Where the Jobs Are 2009: Mission-Critical Opportunities for America projects 273,000 jobs in the federal government will need to be filled over the next three years. "Medical and Public Health" and "Security and Protection" are projected to have the most positions needing to be filled -- more than 50,000 in each field. For IT, 11,549 opportunities are projected to be available during the 2010-2012 fiscal years.
The lion's share of IT positions will be in defense and related segments. The report predicts both the Army and Navy will need more than 1,800 new hires, the Defense Department will need 1,400 and the Department of Homeland Security will need to hire 1,000 new IT professionals.
With many state and local governments desperate to hold on to existing IT talent and attract new workers, the news could spark fears of a talent exodus to the federal side of the house. And that's before factoring in a wave of retirements coming from baby boomers. Some state and local IT shops project they'll lose half or more of their work force to retirement over the next 10 years.
Sarah Howe, a spokesperson for the Partnership for Public Service, told Government Technology the question of whether the federal government's need for IT workers would put a drain on state and local talent pools wasn't something they considered.
"It's a good question," she said. "But it's not something we looked at at all."