Report: National security to drive fed hiring

The federal government expects to hire more than 11,000 information technology experts and 8,000 government contracting experts in the next two years, according to a new survey of personnel officials at 34 federal agencies.

Those jobs are among the nearly 193,000 "mission-critical" federal jobs expected to be filled in 2008 and 2009 to fill a rising need for national security and also to fill vacancies as a wave of current employees retires or resigns, according to the report, "Where the Jobs Are: Mission Critical Opportunities for America."

The nonprofit Partnership for Public Service published the report. The figures do not include clerical and support jobs. They refer to government jobs only, not contractor jobs, said Sarah Howe, a spokeswoman for the group.

The bulk of the new IT jobs will be at the Defense Department, which already has more than 27,000 IT workers, the report said. Also hiring computer specialists in bulk are Agriculture, Commerce, Homeland Security and Treasury.

Nearly half of the open jobs will be at two departments: 47,897 jobs at the Homeland Security Department and 35,505 jobs at the Pentagon.

Across the board, this includes 62,863 security and law enforcement related jobs. In addition, there is a sharply higher demand for compliance and enforcement hires, which will be up nearly four-fold compared to 2005 figures. That includes 27,243 new border patrol agents, customs officers, immigration agents, food inspectors, criminal
investigators and airport screeners.

Nearly one-third of the 1.6 million full-time federal workforce is expected to retire or resign in the next five years.

"This report confirms that the job opportunities are there. People just need to seize them," said Max Stier, president of the Partnership for Public Service.

About the Author

Alice Lipowicz is a staff writer covering government 2.0, homeland security and other IT policies for Federal Computer Week.

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