Top HR officials in the U.S. government are facing impending downsizing as government-wide workforces begin to decline due to budget cuts. A survey by the Partnership for Public Service shows that 72 percent of senior federal HR executives anticipate staffing cuts in their agencies workforces, especially in larger agencies. More than one-third said that their agency is unprepared for the cuts and will be unable to quickly fill critical positions once vacated. A further 36 percent reported feeling that succession plans at their agencies show only moderate success.
“This is a period of substantial change in the government,” Max Stier, CEO of the Partnership, said. “If you do it right, you can minimize the downside. But if you don’t, you could do real harm to the American public, and what they receive from the government. What do you prioritize with a diminished resource base?”
But the report goes on to show that Congress rarely passes budgets on time, leading to agency managers being unsure of their budget status and unable to hire new staff. And while both budgets and workforces are expected to decline, the Partnership doesn’t expect increased outsourcing because most jobs that yield savings when outsourced have already been outsourced.
Other findings of the report include:
• Chief Human Capital Officers (CHCO) have experienced a significant decline in confident in the leadership skills of agency managers. 2011 saw an increase to 33 percent of those CHCOs who thought agency supervisors had limited to no leadership skills. And only 32 percent of CHCOs feel that non-HR managers have the skills to successfully lead their agencies.
• More than one-quarter of CHCOs say they lack the resources to effectively do their jobs, an increase of 6 percent over 2010.