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Getting Your Share of the Federal Hiring Surge

February 15

Getting Your Share of the Federal Hiring Surge

Government agencies have an unprecedented opportunity to recruit top employees. Our new President, promising "change we can believe in," has called for an economic stimulus package that he says would create 244,000 more jobs. Meanwhile a financial crisis and an economic downturn are causing more and more people to look to government for answers and jobs. Yet even as federal job applications soar, many agencies lack the brand identification to get their share. That is why TMP Government, TMP Worldwide's new wholly owned subsidiary serving government, is encouraging agencies to brand themselves and increase their profile to take advantage of the surge.

Attracting new candidates to the public sector is only the first step for the typical agency to land hires. A 2006 Gallup Poll showed that only a handful of federal government employers have high awareness combined with a strong reputation. Hence, many first-time visitors to USAJOBS are confronting a faceless sea of unknowns.

Obviously most government agencies cannot rely on increased demand. The rising tide will lift those ships that have the highest positive profile. Federal employers need to identify their target audiences and define specific value propositions. Then they need to find the best messaging, creative and media to express them. And that is where TMP Government can help.

Parity and security

Much of the present upsurge in interest in government requirements comes from economic concerns. Government is not only hiring, but offers relative job security. As a result, all government agencies can reap some reward from this common denominator. Yet the big winners in government hiring quickly move beyond these table stakes to distinguish themselves by mission and work.

The media here can be a bit misleading. For example, U.S. News & World Report is making a case for government in its 30 Best Careers for 2009. While aptly touching upon the diversity of jobs available, the emphasis again devolves onto the economic benefit. Liz Wolgemuth, a Money & Business reporter, writes, "Workers who crave job security may find their last bastion of hope in the federal government."

Ms. Wolgemuth backs up this rather severe proclamation: "Government can always raise taxes or print more money — and it still offers full-time, well-paying positions with generous benefits, including ample holidays, sick days, and vacation days." She concludes with the oft-spoken fact that there will be "plenty of jobs to choose from, as a big chunk of federal employees become eligible for retirement over the next decade."

The call to service

TMP Government has conducted many focus groups over the past few years aimed at discovering motivators, especially among Gen Y employees. While security has been a consideration (and, of course, more so in the past few months), mission and significance of the work generally emerge as overriding factors. With a President who has issued a national "call to service," agencies have a chance to spotlight their essential value to society. The TMP Government branding methodology can help you find that essence and translate it into compelling outreach communications.

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