Uncle Sam Wants More Young Folks to Work for "Totally Hip" Bureaucracies


Uncle Same
Public Domain

Kids aren't too keen on working for the government anymore and that has Uncle Sam worried.

With the portion of guys and gals under the age of 30 employed by the government hitting an eight-year low of 7 percent in 2013, government officials are concerned that without young tech-savvy talent, the public sector will fall behind.

Not to mention that about a quarter of all federal employees will be eligible to retire in September 2016 with cushy pension plans

So, why aren't the kids jumping at a chance to sell their souls to bureaucratic work? (Hint: It's not because government gigs are underpaid.)

According to a survey of college undergraduates by employer-branding consultancy Universum, student interest in federal work has declined over the last four years. 

It might be the government's un-cool image, according to Paul Light, a professor of public policy at New York University. A reputation of bureaucracy and hierarchy doesn't appeal all that well to the under-30 crowd.

Other recruiting problems:

  • Baby Boomers "hanging on," which limits job mobility for those looking to move up.
  • The hiring process is confusing, lengthy, and difficult with job titles that are shrouded in acronyms and jargon. 
  • Strict recruiting rules (read: no part drug use allowed) filter out promising prospects before upper-level managers can consider them.

The State Department is trying to reach the young crowd where you can find them the most—on their cellphones. The department released a mobile careers app in 2013. Other agencies are trying to bridge the generational tech-gap by connecting with the kids on Facebook and Twitter.

But the most amusing attempt comes from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) who jumped on the "Gangnam Style" fad of 2012 with its own parody video as part of a volunteer outreach project.

In the end, though, millennials may respond best to cold hard cash: It takes just 10 years of soul-crushing public service work to get your soul-crushing student loan debt forgiven.