Friday, February 1, 2019

Shutdown may mean brain drain to private sector

Federal shutdown's legacy may be brain drain to private sector | US news | The Guardian - Lauren Aratani and Erin Durkin:

January 30, 2019 - "The longest government shutdown in US history has come to an end, but experts fear its long-term consequences will include a brain drain among professionals.... The pain of the shutdown and fear of another one may drive away current and would-be government employees – especially those in highly skilled fields such as science, research and technology who can often command bigger paychecks in the private sector.

“The damage is profound,” said Max Stier, the president and CEO of the Partnership for Public Service. “This is something that will take a very long time to fix....

"The partial government shutdown left 800,000 federal workers without pay, either sent home from their jobs or required to work without pay.... Government workers who once thought they could count on stable, long-term employment have now realized the rug can be pulled out from under them at any time, with decisions made by politicians leaving them to spend weeks, or even months, without pay.

"Shaneece Hill, an information technology analyst who works on contract with the Food and Drug Administration, said she loves her job, but had to spend some of her time while out of work applying for other jobs, a requirement to get unemployment benefits.... She plans to see out her contract, but is now thinking about going into the private sector once it’s up.

"'You thought the government was stable, the one job that was always going to be there,' Hill said. 'Usually the school of thought is, "Oh, you have a good government job, or you have a contract job with the government. They’re always open. They’ll always be there." It just gives you another reason for that not to be true,' she said. 'I’m just exploring options for something that’s more permanent'....

“'It’s not a secret you can make more money as a defense contractor or in cybersecurity working for a private company,' said John Harmon, the vice-president of federal sales at the cybersecurity firm Endgame. 'If the government isn’t a safe place to work any more, they can look other places.'

"While conventional wisdom holds that stability is one of the draws of a government job, Stier said he believes employees are more motivated by their commitment to the mission.... That too is jeopardized by the shutdown, which forced scientists to leave fragile research languishing in the lab. 'You’re not able to do your mission, and for no good reason,' Stier said.

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