Federal News Network
Attract tech workers to government through examples of meaningful work
By Michael Sanders
Jun. 23, 2022
"The New York Times ran an article titled 'Tech Companies Face a Fresh Crisis: Hiring.' But it’s not just tech companies feeling the crunch. Government agencies and government contractors are competing for the same talent.
"The article cited a New York start-up with Kombucha on tap, meant to lure workers. I don’t know of a single government office with Kombucha on tap. In government, to solve the people problem we need to the make the case to tech workers that their country needs them and their work will be meaningful.
"I am the CEO of a small government contracting business based in Virginia. After high school I joined the Marines for a sense of purpose, adventure and to do something meaningful. Following my military service, I started my business to continue serving the nation I care so much about.
"On a workplace culture panel last year co-hosted by George Mason University and Defense Acquisition University, I pointed out that federal agencies and contracting businesses like mine aren’t only competing against one another for talent. We’re also competing against the Teslas and Apples of the world.
"Government work might not pay the same salary as glitzy tech start-ups, but as employers target younger workers, pay may not be the deciding factor.
"Studies of millennial and Generation Z workers reveal 90% of this generation wants meaningful work. Half of millennial respondents in one survey of over 2,000 workers said they would even take a pay cut to do more meaningful work.
"Government, at every level, impacts our friends and our neighbors. The success of our missions is felt at home and abroad. We see the striking need for stability and good government when unrest barrages across our Twitter feeds. Government work makes a difference in our communities, our nation and even across the globe.
"For those of us hiring in the government sector, we need to find opportunities to tell the story of government work. It doesn’t sound sexy. But when we’re doing mission-first work, our work matters."
Read the full commentary by Sanders at Federal News Network.