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New Study Finds State and Local Governments Hiring, But Face Acute Challenges Retaining Workers

June 23, 2022

Webinar on June 27th to Review Findings

Eighty-one percent of state and local governments are hiring new employees but face workforce challenges that are impacting total employment, according to a new research report from MissionSquare Research Institute conducted in collaboration with the International Public Management Association for Human Resources (IPMA-HR) and the National Association of State Personnel Executives (NASPE). The research also finds that despite more full-time employees hired in 2021, 69% of state and local government human resource professionals said more employees were quitting and 60% said more were retiring. 

The state and local government human resources professionals surveyed for the research also reported the most difficult positions to fill are in healthcare (83%), policing (78%), engineering (78%), dispatch (75%), building permitting and inspections (73%), corrections/jails (72%), and skilled trades (71%).

These findings are detailed in a new research report, Survey Findings: State and Local Workforce 2022. MissionSquare Research Institute has partnered with IPMA-HR and NASPE since 2009 to conduct this annual study on a range of topics pertaining to workforce and compensation changes, recruitment and retention efforts, and future public employer priorities.

Read the research.  

Register here for a webinar on Monday, June 27, 2022, at 2:00 PM ET to review the findings.

Additionally, 53% of respondents indicated that employees are accelerating their retirement plans, the highest percentage to report this move since the survey began, likely influenced by the pandemic and the Great Resignation. Also, 41% of human resources professionals indicated that the largest portion of retirements will hit state and local governments in the next few years. Speaking of their workforce more generally, less than half (41%) of respondents believe employees are financially prepared for retirement.

Key highlights of the survey findings:

  • 55% of respondents hired more full-time staff in 2021 than in 2020.
  • Looking at 10 key positions, 65% or more identified them as hard to fill. Seven of those ten positions had fewer than 10% of respondents reporting them as hard to fill in 2015.
  • While there has been a slight decline in full-time telework, 54% provide for regular hybrid staffing. Also, new policy approaches are supporting hybrid work with an emphasis on remote employee engagement, mentoring, and performance appraisal.
  • Social media is the top recruitment method.
  • Compensation is the top concern in exit interviews.
  • There has been progress toward achieving greater balance between their workforce diversity and communities served.

The survey was conducted from March 3 to April 24, 2022, with a total of 319 state and local government human resource staff respondents.

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