Recruiting and retaining qualified personnel, succession planning, and staff development rank as the top challenges for state and local governments for the second year in a row, according to a recently released survey.
The Center of State & Local Government Excellence published its State and Local Government Workforce: 2016 Trends, which details findings from a survey sent out to two public personnel associations.
Retirements and employee resignations were higher in 2015 than 2014 (40% higher resignations and 54% higher retirements than 2014), the survey found. Among the most difficult positions to fill are mechanics and skilled trades, respondents reported.
What’s not helping public agencies is the change in retirement plans they’re offering new hires: the highest number of those reporting any changes said they increased employee contributions to pension plans (16% compared to 6% reporting increased employer contribution), and 10% said they increased pension eligibility requirements. For current employees, 13% of respondents said they increased employee contributions to pension plans.
Public agencies have also shifted more health care costs to employees, with 40% of respondents reporting they had done this.
Still, the majority of public agencies (61%) said they believe total wage compensation is competitive, and 85% believe benefits compensation is competitive with the labor market. Hiring by public agencies has gradually increased since 2013.