The Public Sector Is Hiring for 2015

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With federal numbers for January and February 2015 showing more jobs and declining unemployment throughout all sectors of the U.S. economy, it bears looking at whether this seeming prosperity reaches into the public sector. To investigate this, IPMA-HR conducted its Eleventh Annual Employment Outlook Survey, which addressed the likelihood of IPMA-HR member organizations hiring for newly created full- or part-time positions during 2015.

IPMA-HR conducted its Eleventh Annual Employment Outlook Survey with many of its respondents coming from local government and 66 percent of its respondents said their organizations will be hiring for full- or part-time positions during 2015.

With federal numbers for the first two months of 2015 showing more jobs and declining unemployment throughout all sectors of the U.S. economy, it bears looking into whether this upward employment trend is reaching the public sector.

Thinking about fiscal year 2015, just over 58 percent of respondents said they expected newly created positions to represent less than one percent of their organization’s current workforce. Newly created positions are most likely to be found in public safety departments (36 percent). Growth in that area has been typical over the years IPMA-HR has conducted this study.

Nearly 89 percent of respondents reported that their organizations have vacant positions. Still, about 7 of 10 said vacant open positions represent between less than 1 percent and up to 2 percent of their organization’s workforce. Also, just more than 4 out of 10 of respondents (41 percent) indicated that positions will be left open purposely for budget reasons.

Employee pay increases are also likely to occur in 2015 by 77 percent of respondents.

While new positions will be created in 2015,16 percent of respondents reported anticipating layoffs at their organizations. However, two-thirds believe any layoffs will be minimal, impacting less than 1 percent of the workforce. The percentage of public sector organizations’ anticipating layoffs in 2015 equates to half of those who did so at the depths of the last recession in 2009 (30 percent) and the beginning of the protracted economic recovery 2010 (32 percent). Among 2015 respondents anticipating layoffs this year, the greatest proportion (29 percent) said they remain unclear about which departments will see job cuts.

In order to keep the study comprehensive and reflective of current concerns, IPMA-HR also surveyed members about reduced part-time staff hours due to the Affordable Care Act. According to respondents, 36 percent of organizations could lose between 1 to 2 percent of staff to retirement. Twenty-nine percent reported their organizations reduced employees’ hours to meet the requirements of the federal health care law.

For more survey results, please take a look at the IPMA-HR 2015 Employment Outlook Survey infographic attached.

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Jenny Chang
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