oversight

Recruitment and Retention: Inadequate Federal Pay Cited as Primary Problem by Agency Officials

Published by the Government Accountability Office on 1990-09-11.

Below is a raw (and likely hideous) rendition of the original report. (PDF)

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                                           RECRUITMENT AND
                                           RETENTION
                                           Inadequate Federal
                                           Pay Cited as Primary
                                           Problem by Agency
                                           Officials



                                                                                                                142377




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        General Government Division

        B-236949

        September 11,199O

        The Honorable John Glenn
        Chairman, Committee on
          Governmental Affairs
        United States Senate

        The Honorable William D. Ford
        Chairman, Committee on
          Post Office and Civil Service
        House of Representatives

        We are examining a number of issues related to federal recruitment and retention problems.
        This report provides information on what agency officials believed to be the causes and
        effects of these problems. We surveyed officials in 8 federal agencies within 16 metropolitan
        statistical areas on the subject of recruitment and retention in 11 federal occupations with
        high quit rates. We believe the results are relevant to the ongoing debate over federal pay
        reform.

        We are sending copies of this report to other congressional committees, the Director of the
        Office of Personnel Management, and other interested parties.

        The major contributors to this report are listed in appendix IV. Please contact me on
        276-6204 if you have any questions concerning this report.




        Rosslyn S. Kleeman
        Director, Federal Workforce
           Future Issues
                                                                              I
Ekecutive Summ~                                                                     P




             Federal law requires that federal white-collar salaries be comparable to
Purpose      average private sector salaries for similar jobs. However, limitations on
             federal pay adjustments since the late 1970s have created a federal/pri-
             vate pay gap where average private sector salaries exceed average fed-
             eral salaries by about 25 percent. Moreover, the federal salary schedule
             applies nationwide, with no variation to reflect differences in prevailing
             salary rates in the many locations where federal employees work.

             A number of studies by GAO and others suggest that pay disparities have
             caused recruitment and retention difficulties and adversely affected
             agency operations. Given the congressional interest in these issues, GAO
             developed additional information by reviewing a range of jobs in dif-
             ferent agencies and geographic locations across the country. GAO deter-
             mined what agency officials believed to be the causes of recruitment and
             retention difficulties and what effects they believed those difficulties
             have had on agency operations.


             A number of studies during the past 6 years have clearly established
Background   that the federal government is experiencing a recruitment and retention
             crisis and that the problems will worsen in the future as demographic
             and technological changes occur. As a result, GAO believes recruitment
             and retention problems pose a major risk of reducing the quality of gov-
             ernment services and programs. Therefore, GAO believes it is extremely
             important that Congress understand why these problems are occurring
             and the operational effects they are having on federal agencies.

             Earlier research indicates that a variety of factors encourage employees
             to stay in or leave a job or to accept or decline a job offer. Studies of
             federal recruitment and retention, while recognizing that many factors
             are relevant, often focus on the fact that federal pay is substantially
             lower than nonfederal pay for the same jobs, Although the literature
             suggests that agencies may suffer both direct costs (such as added
             recruitment and training expenditures) and indirect costs (such as
             reduced productivity) because of these problems, little agency documen-
             tation of these effects is usually available.

             Using federal personnel data, GAO selected 11 white-collar occupations
             with high national quit rates to serve as the focus of this analysis. The
             occupations were clerk typist, data transcriber, environmental engineer,
             general attorney, industrial hygienist, medical clerk, nurse, pharmacist,
             police, practical nurse, and tax examiner. GAO then selected 16 metropol-
             itan areas with large numbers of employees in those occupations and


             Page 2                                    GAO/GGJMW117Inadequate Federal Pay
                   Elxeeutlve   summary




                   identified the agencies in the 16 areas that employed the largest number
                   of persons in the 11 occupations. At these locations, GAO administered
                   271 questionnaires from December 1989 to March 1990 on recruitment
                   and retention causes and effects in those occupations to agency-desig-
                   nated respondents (usually agency personnel officials assisted by line
                   managers). GAO then conducted follow-up interviews with the respon-
                   dents to discuss their answers and obtain any documentation of their
                   answers.


                   Low federal pay was the factor respondents most frequently cited as a
Results in Brief   reason for employees to leave the federal government and for applicants
                   to decline a federal job offer. Respondents in geographic areas with the
                   highest costs of living and private sector pay rates were much more
                   likely to view federal pay as a cause of recruitment and retention
                   problems than respondents in areas where costs and pay were low.
                   Thus, GAO believes pay reform, particularly locality-based pay adjust-
                   ments, would improve federal recruitment and retention efforts.

                   Respondents also listed the availability of nonfederal jobs and, particu-
                   larly for nurses, federal understaffing as important reasons to leave or
                   decline federal employment. Federal job security was described as the
                   most important reason to stay in or accept a federal job. Respondents
                   also saw federal training, career advancement opportunities, and the
                   content of the work as positive features of federal work. However,
                   training and career advancement opportunities were also viewed as
                   means by which employees could leave the federal government.

                   The agencies seldom kept systematic records documenting how recruit-
                   ment and retention difficulties affected their operations. However,
                   respondents commonly said they believed that these difficulties had
                   caused reductions in service delivery and productivity losses. They also
                   described numerous examples of increased training; recruiting; over-
                   time; and, to a lesser extent, contracting costs caused by these difficul-
                   ties. Thus, while restoring federal pay rates to competitive levels will be
                   costly at first, GAO believes the cost will be offset to some degree by
                   savings and improvements in government operations. GAO also believes
                   those costs are preferable to the further deterioration of government
                   services.




                   Page3
                            Executive Summary




Principal Findings

Pay and Job Availability    GAObelieves pay reform, particularly   locality-based adjustments, is
Seenas Major Factors in     needed to improve federal recruitment and retention. Federal pay com-
                            pared with pay in the nonfederal sector was the factor respondents
Recruitment and Retention   most frequently cited as a reason for federal employees to quit their jobs
Problems                    (78.3 percent of respondents) and for prospective employees to decline
                            federal employment offers (72.5 percent). Respondents in high cost/pay
                            areas were much more likely to view federal pay as a “very important”
                            reason to leave (76.6 percent) than respondents in low cost/pay areas
                            (33.3 percent). Also, respondents with recruiting and retention problems
                            were much more likely to view pay as a reason to decline and leave fed-
                            eral employment than respondents without such problems. The respon-
                            dents cited numerous examples of nonfederal employers paying far
                            more than the federal government for the same job. For example, a
                            Navy official in Philadelphia said that federal environmental engineers
                            earn $36,646 per year in the federal government, but could earn $20,000
                            per year more in the private sector. (See pp. 27 to 35.)

                            The availability of jobs outside the agency was also seen by the respon-
                            dents as an important reason to leave (71.3 percent) or to decline (63.6
                            percent) federal jobs. In locations where nonfederal jobs were plentiful,
                            the respondents were most likely to say that federal employees would
                            leave and prospective employees would decline federal job offers. (See
                            pp. 36 to 37.)

                            Some recruitment and retention-related factors were occupation specific.
                            Respondents for nursing jobs said job understaffing was the most impor-
                            tant factor causing federal nurses to resign and the second most impor-
                            tant reason for nursing applicants to decline federal job offers.
                            Respondents for professional and police occupations often cited limited
                            federal career advancement opportunities as a reason to leave. Other
                            factors the respondents viewed as causing employees to leave or appli-
                            cants to decline were poor federal life and health insurance benefits, the
                            unattractive physical environment of federal worksites, and the lengthy
                            federal recruitment and hiring process. (See pp. 37 to 46.)

                            The factor viewed as most important in attracting and retaining workers
                            was federal job security. Nearly 80 percent of the respondents said fed-
                            eral job security was a reason for employees to stay in federal jobs, and
                            nearly 86 percent said it was a reason for applicants to accept a federal


                            Page 4                                   GAO/GGD-90-117Inadequate Federal Pay
                             Emcutlve Summary




                             job offer. In some cases, federal training and career advancement oppor-
                             tunities were viewed as positive inducements to recruitment and reten-
                             tion in the short run but ultimately allowed some employees to find
                             more attractive jobs elsewhere. (See pp. 46 to 66.)


ReducedService Delivery/     Almost all of the respondents said recruitment and retention problems
Productivity and Increased   resulted in a variety of operational effects in their agencies. For
                             example, 85 to 90 percent said that as a result of recruitment and reten-
Costs Reportedly Caused      tion problems they were experiencing reduced service delivery, lower
by Recruitment and           productivity, and the problem of upper-level people doing lower-level
Retention Problems           work. Although the respondents seldom had documentation of these
                             effects, they cited numerous examples of delayed or eliminated safety
                             inspections, missed production deadlines, lost tax revenues, and poorly
                             served hospital patients resulting from their difficulties in recruiting
                             and retaining employees. For example, officials at the Department of the
                             Navy in Philadelphia and the Environmental Protection Agency in Chi-
                             cago said turnover among environmental engineers had delayed haz-
                             ardous waste cleanups. VA officials in Kansas City and Los Angeles said
                             the shortage of nurses had led to the closure of hospital wards.

                             The respondents also said recruitment and retention problems were
                             causing increased costs in training; recruiting; overtime; and, to a lesser
                             extent, contracting. Sometimes the costs were direct, but some were indi-
                             rect. For example, several respondents said new recruits frequently left
                             after being trained, thereby necessitating another round of expensive
                             recruiting and training. Respondents also said poorer quality applicants
                             and hires increased the need for expensive training, sometimes in very
                             rudimentary skills. (See pp. 58 to 70.)


                             Because Congress was considering legislative proposals to reform the
Recommendations              federal pay-setting process when this report was being prepared, GAO is
                             not making recommendations, but is endorsing the need for pay reform.


                             GAO discussed this report with agency officials, and they generally
Agency Comments              agreed with GAO'S findings and conclusions. The officials did, however,
                             say they believed the report may have understated the extent of opera-
                             tional problems encountered as a result of recruitment and retention
             Y               problems because the respondents may have been reluctant to disclose
                             reductions in service delivery or productivity in their agencies.



                             Page 6                                    GAO/GGIMO4 17 Inadequate Federal Pay
                                                                                         I


Contents                                                                                        !


Executive Summary                                                                                    2

Chapter 1                                                                                           10
Intr6duction             Causes of Recruitment and Retention Difficulties
                         Effects of Recruitment and Retention Difficulties
                                                                                                    11
                                                                                                    15
                         Objectives, Scope, and Methodology                                         16

Chapter 2                                                                                           24
Respondents’             Pay and Job Availability Seen as Main Reasons to Leave
                             or to Decline Federal Employment
                                                                                                    26
Perceptions of Causes    Job Security Viewed as Primary Reason to Stay in or                        46
of Federal                   Accept Federal Employment
                         Several Factors Reported to Have No Effect on Federal                      66
Recruitment and              Recruitment and Retention
Retention Conditions
Chapter 3                                                                                           67
Respondents’             Many Respondents Noted Reductions in Service Delivery
                             and Productivity From Recruitment and Retention
                                                                                                    60
Perceptions of the           Problems
Effects Of Recruitment   Respondents Noted Increased Training, Recruiting,                          66
and Retention                Overtime, and Contractor Costs Caused by
                             Recruitment and Retention Problems
Difficulties
Chapter 4                                                                                           69
Summary and              Many Factors Affect Federal Recruitment and Retention
                         Pay Reform Needed to Address Recruitment and
                                                                                                    69
                                                                                                    72
Conclusions                  Retention Problems
                         Recruitment and Retention Problems Are Adversely
                             Affecting Service Delivery and Needlessly Increasing
                             Agency Costs

Appendixes               Appendix I: Objectives, Scope, and Methodology                             76
                         Appendix II: Combined Results of High and Low Quit                         86
                             Rate Questionnaires
                         Appendix III: Agency Installations/Occupations Focused                     94
                             on in This Review
                         Appendix IV: Major Contributors to This Report                          101




                         Page 6                                    GAO/GGD@O-117
                                                                               Inadequate Federal Pay
                       Chtenta




Bibliography                                                                                  103

Related GAO Products                                                                          108

Tables                 Table 1.1: Occupations Covered in Each MSA                              20
                       Table 1.2: Agencies Covered in Each MSA                                 21
                       Table 2.1: Respondents Said Pay and Job Availability                    25
                           Were Primary Reasons to Leave and to Decline
                           Federal Employment
                       Table 2.2: Respondents Said Job Security Was the                        46
                           Primary Reason to Stay in and Accept Federal
                           Employment
                       Table 3.1: Respondents Reported Operational Problems                    67
                           Created by Retention Difficulties
                       Table 3.2: Respondents Reported Operational Problems                    68
                           Created by Recruitment Difficulties
                       Table 1.1: Selection of Occupations Based Upon Quit Rate,               77
                           Number of Employees, and Occupational Field
                       Table 1.2: Number of Questionnaires by MSA                              82
                       Table 1.3: Number of Questionnaires by MSA Cost/Pay                     83
                           Groupings
                       Table 1.4: Number of Questionnaires by Occupation                       83
                       Table 1.6: Number of Questionnaires by Occupational                     83
                           Groupings
                       Table 111.1:Audit Sites for the Review by MSA, Agency,                  96
                           Subagency, and Occupation

Figures                Figure 1.1: Federal/Private Sector Pay Gap Has Steadily                 13
                            Widened Since 1977
                       Figure 1.2: MSAs in the Review Represented Various                      19
                            Parts of the Country
                       Figure 2.1: Respondents Said Pay and Job Availability                   26
                            Were Primary Reasons to Leave Federal Employment
                       Figure 2.2: Respondents Said Pay and Job Availability                   27
                            Were Primary Reasons to Decline Federal Job Offers
                       Figure 2.3: Respondents Reporting Recruiting Problems                   29
                            Most Frequently Said Federal Pay Was a Reason to
                            Decline Federal Job Offers
                       Figure 2.4: Respondents in High Cost/ Pay Areas Most                    30
                            Frequently Viewed Federal Pay as “Very Important”
                            Reason to Leave and Decline Federal Employment


                       Page 7                                  GAO/GGD9O-117Inadequate Federal Pay
Contents




Figure 2.6: Respondents for Professional Occupations                    31
     Most Frequently Viewed Federal Pay as a Reason to
     Leave and to Decline Federal Jobs
Figure 2.6: Respondents for Nursing Occupations Most                    38
     Frequently Viewed Staffing as a Reason to Leave and
     Decline Federal Employment
Figure 2.7: Respondents for Professional and Police                     41
     Occupations Most Frequently Viewed Career
     Advancement as a Reason to Leave Federal
     Employment
Figure 2.8: Respondents in High Cost/ Pay Areas Most                    44
     Frequently Viewed Benefits as a Reason to Leave
     Federal Employment
Figure 2.9: Respondents Said Job Security Was the                       47
     Primary Reason to Stay in Federal Employment
Figure 2.10: Respondents Said Job Security Was the                      48
     Primary Reason to Accept Federal Job Offers
Figure 3.1: Respondents Reported Operational Problems                   68
     Created by Retention Difficulties
Figure 3.2: Respondents Reported Operational Problems                   69
     Created by Recruitment Difficulties
Figure 4.1: Respondents Said Pay, Job Availability, and                 70
     Job Security Were Primary Reasons to Stay in or
     Leave Federal Employment
Figure 4.2: Respondents Said Pay, Job Availability, and                 71
     Job Security Were Primary Reasons to Accept or
     Decline Federal Employment




Page 8                                 GAO/GGD-90-117Inadequate Federal Pay
Contmta




Abbreviations

AIDS      Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome
CBO       Congressional Budget Office
CPDF      Central Personnel Data File
CSRS      Civil Service Retirement System
EPA       Environmental Protection Agency
FEB       Federal Executive Board
FESS      Federal Employees Retirement System
GS        General Schedule
GM        General Merit
HHS       Department of Health and Human Services
IRS       Internal Revenue Service
LPN       Licensed Practical Nurse
MSA       metropolitan statistical area
MSPB      Merit Systems Protection Board
OPM       Office of Personnel Management
OSHA      Occupational Safety and Health Administration
SSA       Social Security Administration
VA        Department of Veterans Affairs
VAMC      Veterans Affairs Medical Center


Page9                                   GAO/GGD-90-117Inadequate Federal Pay
Chapter 1

Introduction


               In its 1989 report calling for a renewed national commitment to the
               public service, the National Commission on the Public Service, chaired
               by Paul Volcker, found that there was

               “evidence on all sides of an erosion of performance and morale across government
               in America. Too many of our most talented public servants-those with the skills
               and dedication that are the hallmarks of an effective career service-are ready to
               leave. Too few of our brightest young people-those with the imagination and
               energy that are essential for the future-are willing to join.“’

               Several other studies also found that the federal government was exper-
               iencing serious recruitment and retention problems. The National
               Academy of Public Administration’s 1986 report, The Quiet Crisis of the
               Civil Service, described a “process of erosion” in federal recruitment
               and retention.2 The 1988 Civil Service 2000 report, prepared for the
               Office of Personnel Management (OPM), reported a decline in the govern-
               ment’s ability to “recruit and retain the best.“3 A 1989 OPMstudy found
               that some white-collar occupations and geographic areas had significant
               recruitment and retention problems.4 Studies by the U.S. Merit Systems
               Protection Board (MSPB)disclosed a 25percent turnover rate among new
               federal employees as a “cause for concern,“6 and echoed concerns about
               the federal government’s continued ability to attract, hire, and retain I
               “the best and the brightest” employees.6 Our 1987 survey of federal
               managers revealed a widely held perception that the government’s
               ability to hire and retain employees has been deteriorating for a number
               of years.’

               We also found indications that federal recruitment and retention diffi-
               culties will worsen in the future. Competition for available workers is
               expected to intensify as a decrease in the number of young workers

               ‘Report and Recommendations    of the NationalCommission on the Public Service,Committeeon Post
               office and tiivil Service,U.S.House01Representatives,May 2, lt)W, pp. 1 and?!.
               ‘The Quiet Crisis of the Civil Service:The FederalPersonnelSystemat the Crossroads,National
               Academyof Public Administration, December1986,p.6.
               3Civil Service2000,Preparedby the HudsonInstitute for the U.S.Office of PersonnelManagement,
               June 1988.pp.29-50.
               4FederalWhite-CollarPay System:Reporton a Market-SensitiveStudy, U.S.Office of PersonnelMan-
               agement,August 1989,p.4.
               ‘Who is Leaving the FederalGovernment?,MSPB,August 1989,p.2.
               %VhyAre EmployeesLeavingthe FederalGovernment?,MSPB,May 1990,p. vii.
                          HumanResources:GreaterOPMLeadershipNeededto AddressCritical Challenges(GAO/
                         19, Jan. 19,1989),pp. 3-4.



               Page 10                                               GAO/GGDBO-117Inadequate Federal Pay
                       chapter 1
                       Jntroduction




                        slows the growth rate of the U.S. workforce. A larger share of public
                       jobs are also projected to fall into the highest skilled, most competitive
                       job categories, such as technical and research positions. Finally, com-
                       pared to the nonportable retirement benefits of the traditional Civil Ser-
                       vice Retirement System (CSRS), the portability of the new Federal
                        Employees Retirement System (FERS)is expected to present less of an
                       incentive for long-term, experienced employees to stay with the
                       g0vernment.Q

                       The decline and further deterioration of the federal government’s
                       recruitment and retention capabilities are matters of critical concern. As
                       we concluded in our November 1988 transition report on the public ser-
                       vice, problems in acquiring and retaining quality employees pose major
                       risks to the quality of government services and programs.9 Therefore,
                       the federal government needs to find out more about what causes
                       recruitment and retention difficulties and to identify the effects of the
                       difficulties on federal programs and services. These are the issues
                       addressed in this report, which concentrates on “white-collar” occupa-
                       tions-nearly    1.7 million full-time employees as of September 30, 1989.


                        Studies of employee retention indicate that turnover is a complex and
Causesof Recruitment    multifaceted process defying simple explanation.1o Different factors
and Retention           push people out of jobs or pull them to stay. These factors or variables
Difficulties            are commonly grouped into three broad categories: (1) economic vari-
                        ables generally focus on how turnover is affected by the economy (the
                        stronger the economy, the more other jobs are available, and the easier
                        it is for people to leave their current jobs); (2) organizational variables
                        include pay, benefits, and job content (higher pay and better benefits
                        are related to lower turnover); and (3) individual variables include age,
                       job tenure, job satisfaction, and organizational commitment (employees
                        are less likely to leave their jobs the older they are, the longer they have
                        had their jobs, the more satisfied they are with their work, and the more
                        they identify with the organization).




                       sin general,FEXScoversall employeesfirst hired after December31,1983,and employeeshired
                       beforethat date who electedto transfer to the new system.
                       QTransitionSeries:The Public Service(GAO/OCG-SQ-2TR,
                                                                         Nov. 1988).p.4.
                       ‘Of&e,for example,William H. Mobley,EmployeeTurnover: Causes,Consequences
                                                                                               and Control
                       (Reading,MA: Addison-WesleyPublishingCompany,1982),p.82.



                       Page 11                                            GAO/GGIMO-117Inadequate Federal Pay
                            Chapter 1
                            lntroductlon




Recruitment and Retention   Studies of recruitment and retention in the federal government illustrate
in the Federal Government   the interactions of the turnover variables there as well. Nevertheless, a
                            number of studies have cited the critical importance of federal pay rates
                            to recruitment and retention. We have reported over the years that non-
                            competitive federal salaries have created governmentwide recruitment
                            and retention problems. As we noted in our transition report on the
                            public service, “You get what you pay for. Unfortunately, the federal
                            government’s pay structure has broken down.“ll

                            Since 1962, federal law has required that federal white-collar pay rates
                            be comparable to average private sector rates for similar jobs.12This
                            objective has not been attained for two reasons. First, beginning in 1978
                            and in each year since, presidents proposed and Congress agreed to
                            grant federal pay raises at lesser amounts than needed to maintain
                            average pay comparability with the private sector. As a result, a fed-
                            eral/private sector pay gap gradually developed; average private sector
                            pay currently exceeds average federal pay by about 26 percent (see fig.
                            1.1). Second, because the government pays white-collar workers on a
                            national scale while private rates vary by locality, geographic differ-
                            ences exist in the competitiveness of federal pay rates.




                            1’GAO/GGC-89-2TR,p.6.
                            12Specifically,the “pay comparability principle” holds that the private sectordeterminesthe “going
                            rates” for jobs comparableto thosefound in government,and the governmentthen pays the national
                            averageof thoserates for similar levelsof work. This principle was establishedby the FederalSalary
                            ReformAct of 1962(76 Stat. 841) and reaffirmed by the FederalPay ComparabilityAct of 1970(84
                            Stat. 1946).The principle appliesto white-collar workers in the following pay systems:General
                            Schedule,ForeignServiceschedules,and Departmentof Medicineand Surgeryschedulesin the
                            Departmentof VeteransAffairs.



                            Page 12                                               GAO/GGD90417 Inadequate Federal Pay
                                                 Chapter 1
                                                 Introduction




Figure 1.1: Federal/Private Sector Pay Qap Hao Steadily Widened Since 1977
00      Cumulative Annual % Pay Incrow

70

60

60                                                                                                                                          **LC--   9.-
                                                                                                                                     .m--
                                                                                                        -.I---      gill---
40                                                                                  9m1mm1111m--
30

20

10

0

 1977          1878          1979        1080   1881            1982   1984        1986        1888          1987             1988          1989       1990
 Data

        -       Private Sector
        -mm-    FederalSector


                                                 Note: Federal pay adjustments were made in October for years 1977 through 1982. Adjustments were
                                                 shifted to January for 1984 through 1990; therefore, 1983 does not appear on the horizontal axis.

                                                 In a May 1990 report, we documented the combined effect of these two
                                                 factors on selected jobs and localities. 13In about 90 percent of the com-
                                                 parisons we made, the private sector paid more than the federal govern-
                                                 ment for the same white-collar jobs within particular metropolitan
                                                 statistical areas (MSA).‘~ The degree of private sector pay advantage
                                                 varied depending on the area and job, but in over half the cases the pay
                                                 difference was more than 20 percent. In about 10 percent of the compar-
                                                 isons, federal pay rates were higher than private sector rates but usu-
                                                 ally by only about 6 percent.


                                                 r3FederalPay: ComparisonsWith the Private Sectorby Job and Locality, (GAO/GGD80-81FS,May
                                                 16,1990>.
                                                 14AMSAis an areaconsistingof a large population nucleustogether with adjacentcommunities
                                                 having a high degreeof economicand socialintegration with that nucleus.MSAsare composedof
                                                 whole counties,exceptin New Englandwhere they are definedby city and town. A standardset of
                                                 metropolitanareasin the United Statesis definedby the Office of Managementand Budgetaapart of
                                                 its statistical policy responsibilitiesunder the PaperworkReductionAct.



                                                 Page 13                                                GAO/GGDBO-11'7
                                                                                                                    Inadequate Federal Pay
    Chapter 1                                                                               ,
    Introduction




    We found evidence that pay is affecting federal recruitment efforts in
    our 1989 report on the Internal Revenue Service’s (IRS) college recruit-
    ment program.16 We reported that IRSand college officials considered
    noncompetitive starting salaries to be the chief obstacle impeding the
    recruitment of quality ms enforcement staff.

    The May 1990 MSPBstudy of why people leave the federal government
    gives clear evidence of the negative influence of low federal pay on
    employee retention. MSPBsurveyed 2,778 employees who left the federal
    government and, for the respondents who resigned, found the following:

l Twenty-eight percent cited “compensation and advancement” as the
  most important reason for leaving. The percentage citing compensation
  and advancement increased to 37 percent in the selected high cost areas
  of New York, Boston, Los Angeles, and San Francisco.
l Sixty-three percent said “more money” was a “somewhat important” or
  “extremely important” reason for resigning, and 69 percent cited “insuf-
  ficient pay” as a “somewhat important” or “extremely important”
  reason for resigning.
9 Seventy-one percent resigned to work full time elsewhere after leaving
  federal employment and reported an average 26 percent salary increase
  in their new jobs.

    The impact of low pay on recruitment and retention of federal
    employees was also documented in a 1990 report by the National Advi-
    sory Commission on Law Enforcement-a Commission established by
    Congress to study the effects of issues such as pay and benefits on fed-
    eral law enforcement officers.16 More than half of all federal law
    enforcement managers and employees surveyed believed that lack of
    competitive pay deterred qualified people from applying for federal law
    enforcement jobs. The Commission also found that many law enforce-
    ment officials believed noncompetitive pay was the main reason law
    enforcement personnel leave federal service.

    Other factors said to influence employees to leave the federal govern-
    ment include the state of the labor market; occupational considerations;
    and the age, sex, and education level of employees-just as was found in



    16TaxAdministration: Needfor More ManagementAttention to IRS’CollegeRecruitmentProgram
    (GK(T/cIGD-90-32,
                  Dec.22,1989),p.3.
    “Report of the National Advisory Commissionon Law Enforcement(OCG-90-2,Apr. 26,199O).



    Page 14                                          GAO/GGD-90-117Inadequate Federal Pay
                         Chapter1
                         Intxoducdon




                         studies of the nonfederal workforce.17 In the MSPBstudy of departing
                         employees, the employees frequently gave reasons other than pay for
                         resigning: job stress and lack of management/employee cooperation,
                         work-related issues such as poor match of their skills to their jobs, and
                         relocation and other personal or non-work issues. We and others have
                         also highlighted the low public esteem for civil servants as a reason pro-
                         spective employees decline federal jobs or current employees leave
                         them.‘8

                         Two factors commonly cited as influencing employees to stay with the
                         federal government are the retirement system and job security. Under
                         the traditional CSRSretirement system, nonportable retirement benefits
                         are believed to make employees less likely to leave over time as their
                         retirement benefits accumulate.1QAs noted above, however, the portable
                         retirement benefits of the new FEFSretirement system are expected to
                         reduce the importance of retirement benefits as a reason to stay. Job
                         security is a factor because federal employment is relatively stable and
                         federal employees have procedural safeguards against arbitrary dis-
                         missal. Research also indicates that federal employees are more risk
                         averse than their private sector counterparts and value the job security
                         associated with federal employment20


                         Different studies have addressed the effects of recruitment and reten-
Effects of Recruitment   tion difficulties. These studies indicate that, while not all turnover is
and Retention            dysfunctional (e.g., if it weeds out poor performers or brings in
Difficulties             employees with new ideas), it is usually considered costly and disrup-
                         tive to the organization. Turnover leads to direct costs, such as
                         increased recruiting and training expenses, and to indirect costs, such as
                         reduced productivity while new recruits are being trained. It can also
                         diminish the organization’s ability to accomplish its mission.



                         i7FederalWorkforce:Pay, Recruitment,and Retentionof FederalEmployees(GAO/GGD-87-37,
                         Feb.10,1987).
                         “GAO/GGD-89-19 and Reportand Recommendations
                                                                    of the National Commissionon the Public
                         Service.
                         “Civil Service2000,p.31,andThe Quiet Crisis of the Civil Service,p.8.
                         2oSeeGilbert B. Siegel,“Compensation,Benefitsand Work Schedules,”Public PersonnelManagement,
                         Vol. 18,No. 2 (Summer1989);and Don Bellanteand Albert Link, “Are Public SectorWorkersMore
                         Risk AverseThan private SectorWorkers?”Industrial and Labor RelationsReview,Vol. 34, No. 3
                         (April 1981).



                         Page 15                                                GAO/GGDW-117 Inadequate FederalPay
                            Chapter 1
                            Introduction




                            These dysfunctional effects of turnover are difficult to document, how-
                            ever. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO)has reported that, while
                            managers need to consider the costs associated with turnover in their
                            decision-making, “[dlata for even the most obvious costs are generally
                            difficult to obtain, and techniques for valuing less obvious indirect costs
                            are poorly developed or nonexistent”. CBOdid find that replacement
                            costs were much higher for highly skilled professional and administra-
                            tive jobs than for less technical, clerical positions. CBO also looked at lost
                            production time as a result of turnover at the General Services Adminis-
                            tration and found that it took an average of about 32 days to fill posi-
                            tions at the agency after they became vacanLzl

                            Studies by Federal Executive Boards (FEB) in various metropolitan areas
                            have consistently concluded that recruitment and retention difficulties
                            are making it harder for federal agencies in these areas to accomplish
                            their missions.22The studies, done by local FEBS in New York, northern
                            New Jersey, Boston, and Los Angeles, reported that these difficulties-
                            which were largely attributed to uncompetitive federal pay rates-led
                            to lower quality recruits, higher administrative costs, and lost produc-
                            tivity. For example, the 1989 Boston FEB study calculated that recruit-
                            ment and retention problems in Boston cost the federal government
                            $69.8 million in added recruiting and hiring costs in fiscal year 1988.
                            Moreover, the study concluded that in many critical employment catego-
                            ries, the federal government in Boston had become “an employer of last
                            resort.”


                            One objective of our review was to determine what agency officials
Objectives, Scope,and       believed to be the causes of recruitment and retention difficulties in
Methodology                 selected occupations, areas, and agencies in the federal government. We
                            also sought to identify what agency officials believed to be the effects of
                            those difficulties on agency operations. The following specific questions
                            guided our work:

                        l   To what extent do agency officials believe factors such as federal pay,
                            work content, and training opportunities influence potential employees’

                            21EmployeeTurnover in the FederalGovernment,CongressionalBudgetOffice, February 1986,
                            pp.97~36.
                            22NewYork’s “Not SoQuiet” FederalEmploymentCrisis, New York FEB,April 1988;The New Jersey
                            Crisis, Metropolitan Northern New JerseyFEB,August 1988;Competingfor the Future: A Reporton
                            the Effects of FederalPay Policy on Public Service,BostonFEB,March 1989;The FederalEmploy-
                            mentCrisis in the GreaterLosmeles Area: A ViciousCycle,LosAngelesFEB and the CollegeFed-
                            eral Council for SouthernCalifornia, December1988.



                            Page 16                                           GAO/GGLMO-117Inadequate Federal Pay
.       Chapter 1
        Introduction




        decisions to accept or reject offers of federal employment or current
        employees’ decisions to stay in or quit federal jobs?
    l   What operational problems, if any, do agency officials believe recruit-
        ment and retention difficulties cause in federal agencies?
    l   To what extent do the respondents’ answers to the preceding questions
        vary by occupation or geographic area?

        To answer these questions, we selected 11 high quit rate GSor GS-
        equivalent occupations for study and administered 27 1 questionnaires
        to agency-designated focal points (usually personnel officers, in consul-
        tation with line managers) in 8 agencies in 16 MSASacross the country.
        The M&S selected had above average numbers of employees in at least 7
        of the 11 high quit rate occupations. The agencies selected within those
        MSASwere the predominate federal employers in those occupations.

        We received responses to all 271 questionnaires. We then held follow-up
        interviews with the respondents to find out why they answered as they
        did and to obtain any supporting documentation. We did not, however,
        independently verify the information the respondents provided.

        We identified occupations in this study using a measure of retention dif-
        ficulty-quit   rates -because, as a rule, neither OPM nor individual agen-
        cies collect data on attainment of recruiting goals. Available recruiting
        information consists of largely anecdotal evidence. “Quit,” as used in
        this study, applies only to employees who voluntarily resigned their
        government jobs. It does not include any of several other possible forms
        of employee separation, including retirement, transfers to other federal
        agencies, dismissals, or deaths. Quit rates were calculated on the basis of
        those employees on board as of December 31,1986, for the 2-year period
        ending December 31,1988. We defined a “high quit rate” occupation to
        be any occupation with a quit rate 60 percent or more above the
        national average for all federal occupations.23

        The 11 occupations in our review were selected from a total of 30 occu-
        pations with high quit rates over the 2-year period spanning calendar
        years 1987 and 1988. The 11 occupations were generally representative
        of the federal occupational fields with high quit rates (security, health,
        clerical/technical, and other professionals) and typically had higher quit
        rates and numbers of employees than the 19 occupations that were not

        23Theaveragenational quit rate for all occupationswas 6.2 percentover the X-yearperiod spanning
        1987and 1988,sothat any occupationwith a quit rate equalto or greaterthan 9.3 percentwaa
        consideredto have a high quit rate.



        Page 17                                              GAO/GGDfJO-117Inadequate Federal Pay
Chapter 1
Introduction




selected. The 11 occupations selected were general attorney, pharmacist,
industrial hygienist, and environmental engineer (grouped as “profes-
sional” occupations); clerk typist, data transcriber, tax examiner, and
medical clerk (grouped as “clerical/technical” occupations); nurse and
practical nurse (grouped as “nursing” occupations); and police.24

The 16 MSASselected for our study had at least 1,000 federal employees
and contained above average numbers of employees in most of the occu-
pations in our review.26 Using these criteria we chose the following MSAS:
New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Boston, and San Diego (grouped
as high cost/pay MSAS); Detroit, Chicago, Philadelphia, Baltimore, and
Atlanta (grouped as medium cost/pay MSAS), and Dallas, Denver, Kansas
City, St. Louis, San Antonio, and Norfolk (grouped as low cost/pay
MSAS).~ Figure 1.2 shows the geographic dispersion of these MS& across
the continental United States. Table 1.1 shows the occupations we sur-
veyed in each of these MSAS.




241nthis report, the terms“nurse” and “registerednurse” are usedinterchangeablyand are diitin-
guishedfrom licensedpractical nurses(LPN).
26Althoughthe Washington,D.C.,MSAmet the selectioncriteria, it was not included in the study
becauseevery agencyand mostsubagencieswould have had to have beensurveyedconcerningeach
high quit rate occupation,thereby skewingthe survey universetoward Washington.
2eSeeappendix I for a discussionof how the cost/pay areagroupingswere done.



Page 18                                               GAO/GGMO-117 Inadequate Federal Pay
                                           Chapter 1
                                           Introduction




Flgure 1.2: MSAs in the Review Represented Various Parts of the Country


                                                 Kansas         St. Louis




                                                                                                Boston

                                                                                                New York
                                                                                                Philadelphi   ia
                                                                                                Baltimore

                                                                                                Norfolk




                                                                                                Atlanta




                                           Page 19                          GAO/GGD-99417Inadequate Federal Pay
                                            Chapter 1
                                            Introduction




Table 1.1: Occupation8 Covered In Each MSA
                                                                     Occupation3
MSA
 _           -___-..... CT        DT   EE           GA             IH        MC             RN            PH           PO           PN              TE
Atlanta                      X     X                   X            X            X                          X                          X             X

B&imore
_- ..              -- .._._- X     X    X              X            X            X                          X            X

Boston                       X                         X                         X                          X            X             X

Chicano                      X     X    X              X            X            X             X            X            X             X             X

Dallas                       X          X              X            X                          X            X                          X             X

Denver                       X     X    X              X            X            X             X            X            X             X             X

Detroit -       .--.-__      X     X                                             X                          X            X                           X

Kansas
 _....    City .- ..__ --.   X     X    X              X                         X             X            X            X             X             X

Los
Angeles                      X     X                   X                         X             X            X            X             X             X

New
Nolio,kYork  .._- -_._-. ..- xX    X    X              X            X            X             X            X            X             X             X

                                                                    X            X             X                         X             X
                   ._...-I.
Philadelphia.__---._ - X           X    X              X            X            X             X            X            X             X             X

St. LOUIS                    X     X                   X                         X             X            X            X             X

San Antonio .- .._. . _..-.-X-     X                                             X             X            X            X             X

San Diego . . ---.-          X          X                           X            X             X            X            X             X

San
Francisco                    X          X              X                         X             X            X            X

                                            aThe occupations were clerk typist (CT), data transcriber (DT), environmental engineer (EE), general
                                            attorney (GA), industrial hygienist (IH), medical clerk (MC), registered nurse (RN), pharmacist (PH),
                                            police (PO), practical nurse (PN), and tax examiner (TE).

                                            After the MSAS were chosen, we selected specific agencies (and sub-
                                            agency locations within them) in each M!3Ato receive the question-
                                            naires-again on the basis of the number of employees in the 11
                                            occupations. The subagency locations we identified were all in the fol-
                                            lowing eight agencies: the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and
                                            the Departments of the Air Force, Army, Health and Human Services
                                            (HHS), Labor, Navy, Treasury, and Veterans Affairs (VA). Table 1.2
                                            shows the agencies we surveyed in each M&L




                                            Page 20                                                    GAO/GGD-90417Inadequate Federal Pay
                                      Chapter 1
                                      lntroiluctton




Table 1.2: Agenclea Covered in Each
MSA                                   M8A                 Air Force Army   Navy EPA HHS       Labor       Treasury   VA
                                      Atlanta                                                     X              X    X

                                      Baltimore                        X                  X                           X

                                      Boston                           X            X                                 X

                                      Chicago                                       X     X       X              X    X

                                      Dallas                                        X             X
                                                                                                      -          X    X

                                      Denver                     X     X            X             X              X    X

                                      Detroit                                                                    X    X

                                      Kansas City                      X            X                            X    X

                                      Los Angeles                            X                                   X    X

                                      New York                                      X     X       X              X    X

                                      Norfolk                                X                                        X

                                      Philadelphia                           X      X     X       X              X    X

                                      St. Louis                        X                                              X

                                      San Antonio                X     X                                         x    x
                                      San Diego                              X                                        X

                                      San Francisco                                 X                                 X




                                      Although the occupations reviewed all had high quit rates nationally,
                                      there were instances in which the installations we visited had local quit
                                      rates for certain occupations that were below our high quit rate defini-
                                      tion. To accommodate these cases, we administered a separate “low quit
                                      rate” questionnaire. Of the 271 questionnaires we administered, 199
                                      were high quit rate questionnaires and 72 were low quit rate question-
                                      naires. (See app. I for a more complete description of the survey and the
                                      methodology used.)

                                      This study has several limitations that deserve emphasis. First, the quit
                                      rates generated from our approach cannot be compared to quit rates cal-
                                      culated in other studies. Our quit rates represent a compilation of all
                                      employees who resigned in 1987 and 1988; they do not describe the
                                      annual quit rates for either 1987 or 1988. The quit rates were calculated
                                      solely on the basis of those employees who were on board on December
                                      31, 1986, tracking their status for a 2-year period ending December 31,
                                      1988. The quit rates do not include employees who joined the federal
                                      government during the 2-year span and quit before the December 3 1,
                                      1988 cut-off date. Although not absolute indicators of annual quit rates,
                                      the data are useful as comparative indicators of quit rates among occu-
                                      pations and agencies within the confines of the time period and quit rate
                                      definitions we used.




                                      Page 21                                    GAO/GGD-90-117Inadequate Federal Pay
Chapter 1
Introduction




Second, our ability to determine the causes of recruitment and retention
difficulties was limited by difficulties in contacting prospective and
former federal employees. For example, to determine the reasons why
employees left an occupation, the best approach would have been to
survey former employees. However, difficulties associated with locating
those former workers prevented that approach.27 Nevertheless, the
agency focal points we contacted instead of the employees who actually
left were knowledgeable about the occupations surveyed and were the
next best sources of information about why employees in those occupa-
tions come and go. Moreover, the focal points were the most appropriate
source for perceptions of the effects of recruitment and retention diffi-
culties, as most focal points were personnel officers or line managers
who dealt with these issues on a daily basis.

Third, because of the judgmental sample used, the generalizability of the
results is necessarily limited to the occupations, agency installations,
and MSAS covered in our review. The General Schedule (GS), the largest
federal white-collar pay system, encompasses over 400 occupational
series; this study examined only 11 of those series. Likewise, the 16 MSAS
included about 28 percent of all GS employees in the 338 MSAS in the
United States.28Therefore, our findings cannot be projected to other
occupations, agencies, and MSAs not covered in the review.

It should also be noted that, after the audit work was completed, legisla-
tion aimed at improving VA’S ability to compete for nurses was signed
into law. The new law (P.L. 101-366) restructures the pay system for VA
nurses to allow locality pay and other monetary incentives. Therefore,
some of the pay-related problems cited with regard to nurses at VA may
soon be alleviated.

Given the immediacy of the congressional debate on these issues, we did
not obtain written agency comments on this report. We did, however,
discuss the results with representatives of each of the agencies involved
in the study. They generally agreed with our findings and our conclu-
sions. However, the agency representatives believed that the respon-
dents may have understated the severity of operational problems

27Weaskedthe agencyrespondentsif they could provide reliable last addressesof the employees
who left in 1987and 1988so we could conducta verification survey. Although agenciesare required
to keepsuch information for 3 years,agencyrespondentssaid they doubtedthe accuracyof thii
information, Wethereforedecidednot to contactformer employees.
28Asof March 31,1989,1,279,746GeneralScheduleemployeeswere locatedin the 338 M&As,
ranging from 238,576in the Washington,DC-MD-VAareato 7 in the Bristol, CT area.The 16 MSAsin
our review included 362,617GeneralScheduleemployees.



Page 22                                              GAO/GGD-90-117Inadequate Federal Pay
cllapter 1
Introduction




caused by recruitment and retention difficulties, Specifically, the repre-
sentatives said that respondents may have been reluctant to admit
reductions in service delivery or productivity at their agencies.

We did our work between August 1989 and June 1990 in accordance
with generally accepted government auditing standards.




Page 23                                   GAO/GGDBO-117Inadequate Federal Pay
Chapter 2

Respondents’Perceptions of Causesof Federal
Wruitment and Retention Conditions

               In order to know how best to address federal recruitment and retention
               difficulties, it is first necessary to understand the extent of those diffi-
               culties and what caused them. As was discussed in chapter 1, a variety
               of factors can affect recruitment and retention in the federal govern-
               ment. Some of these factors may be positive inducements for current
               federal employees to stay in their jobs and for prospective employees to
               accept employment offers; other factors may have the opposite effect.
               In fact, a single factor may positively affect recruitment and retention
               of quality employees in some situations and have a negative effect in
               others.

               Our questionnaire asked respondents to assess how important each of
               17 factors was in causing employees to stay in or leave the particular
               occupations in question in their agencies and areas.’ (For a list of these
               17 retention-related factors, see app. II, question 2.) We also asked
               respondents to assess how important those same factors (as well as two
               additional factors specific to recruiting) were in prospective employees’
               decisions to accept or decline employment offers in these occupations in
               their agencies and areas. (For a list of these 19 recruitment-related fac-
               tors, see app. II, question 16.) After completing the questionnaires, the
               respondents were asked why they responded the way they did and were
               asked to provide any documentation or examples available to support
               their answers.

               In analyzing the questionnaire results, we first combined the respon-
               dents’ answers for the high quit rate questionnaires and low quit rate
               questionnaires to produce an overall measure of the respondents’ views
               on questions that were asked of both groups. We then separated and
               compared the responses from the high and the low quit rate question-
               naires on those questions. We also separated and compared the answers
               of respondents reporting that their agencies did and did not have
               recruitment problems in the targeted occupations. Finally, we examined
               the respondents’ answers by geographic area (with the 16 MSAS divided
               into high, medium, and low cost/pay areas) and by occupational cate-
               gory (with the 11 occupations divided into professional, clerical/tech-
               nical, nursing, and police groups).



               ‘As is discussedin appendix I, the questionnairerespondentswerethe 176agencydesignatedfocal
               points for eachof the 271questionnaires.However,the term “respondents”asusedin discussionsof
               questionnairetabulations refers to the questionnairesreceivedrelevant to that issue.Thus, for
               example,a statementthat “60 percentof all of the respondents”respondeda particular way refers to
               60 percentof the 271 questionnaires,not 60 percentof the 176focal points.



               Page 24                                              GAO/GGJMO-117Inadequate Federal Pay
                                          Chapter 2
                                          Respondents Perception@of Causeaof
                                          Federal Recruitment and
                                          l&tention Conditions




                      Table 2.1 and figures 2.1 and 2.2 show the factors the questionnaire
Pay and Job           respondents most frequently said were reasons to leave federal employ-
Availability Seenas   ment and to decline employment offers in the occupations, agencies, and
Main Reasonsto Leave areas  reviewed.
or to Decline Federal
Ehployment
Table 2.1: Respondent8 Said Pay and
Job Availablllty Were Primary Rea@onato   Retention factors and percentage who   Recruitment factors and percentage who
Leave and to Decline Federal              said “reason to leave”                 said “reason to decline”
Employment                                Pav (78.3)                             Pav (72.5)
                                          Job availabilitv (71.3)                Job availability (63.6)
                                          Staffing (51.6)                        Length of recruitment/hiring process (39.0)
                                          Careerobportunities     (45.7)         Benefits (33.1)
                                          Benefits (37.0)                        Phvsical environment (31.2)
                                          Physical environment (35.4)            Staffing (29.7)




                                          Page 26                                    GAO/GGDQO-117
                                                                                                 Inadequate Federal Pay
                                           Chapter 2
                                           Re!spondenta’Perceptions of Causesof
                                           Federal Recruitment and
                                           Retention C4mLttiom




Figure 2.1: Respondents Said Pay and
Job Availability Were Primary Reasons to
                                           100    Percent of respondents
Leave Federal Employment
                                            90



                                            70

                                           60

                                           50

                                           40

                                           30

                                           20

                                           10

                                            0




                                                 Factors said to be reasons to leave


                                                  I        ‘Somewhat Important Reason to Leave”
                                                           “Very Important Reason to Leave”




                                           Page 26                                                GAO/GGJMO-117Inadequate Federal Pay
                                          Chapter 2
                                          Reepondentr’ Perceptiona of Caueeeof
                                          Federal Recruhnent and
                                          Ret.4mtionConditions




Job Availablllty Were Primary Rekons to   ,oo    P,rc,nt of r,spondents
Decline Federal Job Offers
                                           90

                                           90

                                           70

                                           90

                                           so

                                           40

                                          90

                                          20

                                           10

                                           0




                                                Factors said to be reasons to decline


                                                 I        ‘Somewhat Important Reason to Decline”
                                                          “Very Important Reason to Decline”



                                          Overall, the respondents said that two factors-federal     pay compared
                                          to pay in the nonfederal sector and the availability of jobs outside the
                                          agency in the respondent’s geographic area-were the most important
                                          reasons current federal employees leave these occupations and prospec-
                                          tive employees decline employment offers. The other factors were of
                                          substantially less importance across all the occupations and areas,
                                          although some factors were more important for particular occupations.

Pay Cited as the Most                     Over ‘78 percent of the respondents said that federal pay compared to
Important Reasonto Leave                  pay in the nonfederal sector was either a “very important” or “some-
                                          what important” reason to leave the jobs in question; nearly 66 percent
or Decline FedFral                        said pay was a “very important” reason to leave. Pay was also the most
Employment                                frequently cited reason for declining federal job offers. Over 72 percent



                                          Page 27                                                  GAO/GGD-90-117Inadequate Federal Pay
Chapter 2
Respondentrr’Perceptions of Causesof
Federal Ik!cruitment and
Ret8ntion C4mdMone




of the respondents said pay was either a “very important” or “some-
what important” reason to decline; 63 percent said it was a “very impor-
tant” reason to decline.

Both high and low quit rate respondents reported that federal pay com-
pared to pay in the nonfederal sector was the most important reason to
leave these federal jobs, However, respondents for occupations in agen-
cies and areas where the quit rate was high were more likely to report
that federal pay was a reason to leave (83.4 percent) than respondents
where the quit rate was low (60.3 percent). About 74 percent of the
respondents said they were having trouble recruiting new employees to
at least some extent. These respondents said federal pay was a reason to
decline federal employment much more often than respondents
reporting little or no recruiting problems (86.9 percent versus 3 1.8 per-
cent). (See fig. 2.3.) In fact, most of the respondents not reporting
recruitment problems said federal pay was a reason to accept federal
employment.




Page 28                                  GAO/GGLMJ-117Inadequate Federal Pay
                                      Chapter 2
                                      Respondents’Perceptions of Causesof
                                      Federal Recruitment end
                                      Retention Conditions




Figure 2.3: Respondent8 Reporting
Recruiting Problems Moat Frequently
                                      100   Percent of respondents
Said Federal Pay Wao a Reabon to
Decline Federal Job Offers             90




                                      Respondents’ views of recrultlng In agency/area for occupation


                                                 I         Said Pay Was “Reason to Accept”
                                                           Said Pay Was “Reason to Decline”



High Cost/Pay Area Respondents        There were also differences in the respondents’ perceptions of the
Most Frequently Said Pay Was          importance of pay to recruitment and retention across the geographic
the Causeof Recruitment and           categories. In high and medium cost/pay areas, respondents overwhelm-
Retention Problems                    ingly said federal pay was a reason to leave federal employment (90.6
                                      percent and 83.5 percent, respectively); respondents in low cost/pay
                                      MSAS also said federal pay was a reason to leave, but to a lesser extent
                                      (62.2 percent). Likewise, federal pay was more frequently viewed by
                                      respondents in high cost/pay areas as a reason to decline federal
                                      employment (86.6 percent of respondents) than by respondents in the
                                      medium (77.9 percent) or low cost/pay areas (54.3 percent).

                                      As shown in figure 2.4, differences in the respondents’ answers across
                                      geographic areas were particularly evident when examining the most
                                      intense responses-the “very important” reason to leave or decline cat-
                                      egory. In the high cost/pay areas, about 75 percent of the respondents


                                      Page 29                                                    GAO/GGD9@117Inadequate Federal Pay
                                         Chapter 2
                                         Respondente’Perceptions of Causesof
                                         Federal Recruitment aud
                                         Retention Conditiona




                                         said pay was a “very important” reason to leave (76.6 percent) or
                                         decline (71.9 percent) federal employment, compared to less than 60
                                         percent of the respondents in medium cost/pay areas and about 33 per-
                                         cent of the respondents in low cost/pay areas.


Flgure 2.4: Respondent8 in High Cost/
Pay Area8 Mo8t Frequently Viewed
                                         100   Percent of respondents
Federal Pay as “Very Important” Reason
to Leave and Decline Federal             90
Employment
                                         30
                                         70
                                         80
                                         30




                                               Pay Was “Vety        Pay Was ‘Very
                                               Important            Important
                                               Roseon to            Reason to
                                               Leave”               Decline”
                                               Respondents views of “Pay” as reason to leave and decline


                                               0        Respondents in High Cost/Pay Areas
                                                        Respondents in Medium Cost/Pay Areas
                                                        Respondents in Low Cost/Pay Areas



                                         The differences between the geographic areas were especially striking
                                         when comparing individual MSAS. For example, in the San Antonio MSA (a
                                         low-cost/pay area), over 75 percent of the respondents said federal pay
                                         compared to nonfederal pay was a reason to stay in federal employment
                                         or that it had no effect on stay/leave decisions. In the San Diego and San
                                         Francisco MS& (high cost/pay areas), none of the respondents said pay
                                         was a reason to stay in federal jobs; all the respondents said federal pay
                                         was a reason to leave, and nearly 75 percent said it was a “very impor-
                                         tant” reason to leave.




                                         Page 30                                                   GAO/GGD-W117Inadequate Federal Pay
                                           chapter     2
                                           Rtnupondenta’Perceptions of Causeaof
                                           Federal Rea-uitment and
                                           ltetantton CendMon8




Respondentsfor Professional -~             There were also differences in the respondents’ views of the importance
OccupationsMost Fbquently                  of pay to recruitment and retention across the occupational categories,
Said Pay Wasa Reasonto Leave               although the differences were not as great as across the geographic
or DeclineFederal Employment               areas. (See fig. 2.6.) Nearly 90 percent of the respondents for the profes-
                                           sional occupations said pay was a reason to leave and a reason to
                                           decline a federal job; about 70 percent of the clerical/technical respon-
                                           dents said pay was a reason to leave, and about 60 percent said it was a
                                           reason to decline. Responses for the police and nursing occupations fell
                                           between those for professional and clerical or technical occupations.


Figure 2.5: Rerpondenta for Profemionsl
Occuprtlona Most Frequently Viewed
                                           100       Parwnt of nspondentr
Federal Pav aa a Reaclon to Leave and to
Decline Fe&al Jobs                          so
                                            60
                                            70
                                            60
                                            60
                                           40
                                           20
                                           20

                                           10

                                             0

                                                     “Pay” Viewed           “Paf’ Wowed
                                                     am Rrron to            as Reason to
                                                     lmave                  Docllna
                                                     Respondents vlem of “Pay” as raaeon to leave and decline

                                                 1         1 Respondents for Professional Occupations
                                                             Respondents for Police Occupation
                                                             Respondents for Nursing Occupations
                                                             Respondents for Clerical~echnical Occupations
                                                 1111



RespondentsProvided Many      When asked to explain why they believed federal pay was a reason to
Ekamplesof Federal/Nonfederal leave and to decline federal jobs, the respondents provided numerous
Pay Gap         V             examples of the nonfederal sector paying more than the federal govern-
                                           ment for the same jobs and related these pay gaps to their recruitment
                                           and retention problems, Federal/nonfederal pay disparities were cited


                                           Page 31                                                       GAO/GGD9O-117Inadequate Federal Pay
    Chapter 2                                                            1)
    Respondents’Perceptions of Causesof
    Federal Recruitment and
    Retmtion Ckmditiona




    by respondents in virtually every geographic area surveyed and for
    almost all the selected occupations.

. Boston EPAofficials said that four of the attorneys who left their agency
  during 1988 and 1989 accepted positions at private law firms paying
  from $50,000 to $80,000. Their federal salaries had been $39,601 and
  $43,462.
l The Dallas IR+S district counsel noted that an attorney had resigned from
  the IRSafter receiving an offer of $70,000 a year (a 60 percent pay
  increase) and was expected to earn over $100,000 a year within 5 years.
  The IRSrespondent said that law students turn down IRSemployment
  offers because other firms pay starting salaries of $10,000 to $20,000 a
  year more than IRScan pay under the General Schedule.
l The IRSGeneral Counsel in Los Angeles said entry-level (GS-11) attorneys
  are paid approximately $28,000 to $30,000 a year, and, over time, can
  progress to the ~~-14 level paying approximately $48,000 a year. In con-
  trast, he said private sector firms in Los Angeles offer entry-level sala-
  ries of about $46,000 a year and pay attorneys with responsibilities
  equivalent to the GS-14 level approximately $70,000 to $80,000 a year.
l Documents provided by the IRSoffice in New York showed that New
  York state and local governments and the private sector paid substan-
  tially more for attorneys than the federal government. For example, in
  1987 the federal government paid GS-11 level attorneys in New York
  $27,172 a year. At the same time, the New York city government paid
  entry-level attorneys $34,691, and the average New York City law firm
  offered $48,000. At the GS-13 level, the federal government paid
  $38,727; New York City paid $44,111; and the average law firm paid
  $66,000.
. The IRSregional counsel in Philadelphia told us that their office had just
  lost a General Merit (GM) -16 special trial attorney to a private employer
  who doubled his pay.
l An EPAofficial in Denver said that attorneys who come to work at EPA
  are usually dedicated to environmental causes and thus are willing to
  accept lower government salaries. However, after a few years the pres-
  sures of family expenses and other monetary realities cause many to
  leave. He said that attorneys making about $40,000 at EPAcould make as
  much as $76,000 in the private sector.
l An IRSofficial in San Francisco said that, in contrast to a federal starting
  salary for attorneys of about $30,000 a year, the private sector starting
  salary in San Francisco is in the $60,000 to $70,000 range.
. An official at the Naval Facilities Engineering Command in Philadelphia
  said that journeymen environmental engineers at the GS-12 level earn



    Page 32                                 GAO/GGD-90417Inadequate Federal Pay
        chapter 2
        Respondenta’Perceptioxw of Causesof
        Federal ibcruitment and
        Betention Conditioua




  about $36,645 in the federal government; in the private sector in Phila-
  delphia, he said, they could earn over $20,000 more. The official said
  “[tlhis office has been reduced to a training ground. We hire good but
  inexperienced personnel, train them, only to lose them in 1 or 2 years to
  higher paying outside jobs.”
  An August 1988 internal memo from the Occupational Safety and
    l


  Health Administration’s (0%~) New York Regional Office said pay was
  the single most important reason for industrial hygienists to quit; the
  memo said they stood to gain $10,000 to $15,000 a year by moving into
  the private sector. An OSHA management officer told us one hygienist
  left to work for the state of New Jersey, increasing the hygienist’s
  salary from $42,000 a year to $60,000 a year. Nine out of 10 declina-
  tions of job offers at OSHA’S Queens Area Office could, according to
  agency officials, be traced to the low salary offered, commuting costs,
  and low benefits. At the time of our visit, three industrial hygienist posi-
  tions had been vacant for over 18 months. The officials said that indi-
  viduals responding to job advertisements often declined further
  consideration when the salary structure was explained to them.
. The chief of pharmacy at the Boston Veterans Affairs Medical Center
  (VAMC) told us that salaries for newly graduated pharmacists were
  $7,000 to $15,000 a year higher at chain drug stores and other hospitals
  in Boston than at VA, where the entry-level salary was $32,121.
l According to a 1987 special salary rate review, low pay was a cause of
  recruitment problems for pharmacists at VA in Chicago. According to the
  review, local drug stores paid newly-hired pharmacists $12,000 to
  $13,000 a year more than VA rates allowed.
. A San Francisco VA official said the starting salary for pharmacists at
  the VAMC(with special rates) was $38,713 a year, and the top rate (after
  15 years) was $47,819 a year. At two nearby private hospitals the
  starting salary was $51,730 a year. In the 5-month period prior to our
  visit, the VAMClost seven pharmacists while managing to hire one. The VA
  official said VA serves as a training ground for the private sector.
l In 1988,366 of the IRSBrookhaven (New York) service center’s data
  transcribers quit for nonfederal government positions. In an IRStele-
  phone survey of 294 of its former employees, 46 percent told IRSthey
  quit because of inadequate pay.
l An official at the Philadelphia Naval Electronics Systems Command said
  more and more of their clerk typist losses were “quits for pay.” The
  official said private sector positions paid $10 to $15 an hour in 1989,
  compared to the Navy’s $6.74 an hour.
. Nineteen of 45 tax examiners at the IRSPhiladelphia service center left
  during 1987 and 1988 to accept positions in the private sector. Agency
  officials said all left for comparable higher-paying jobs.


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        Respondents’Perceptions of Causesof
        Federal Recruitment and
        Retention Condltiom




l       A March 1988 Philadelphia Naval Shipyard special rate request stated
        that the Command Security Department had experienced a 3%percent
        attrition rate for its police officers as a “direct result of disparaging dif-
        ference in pay and benefits.” A March 1988 pay study by the Shipyard
        and two other agencies indicated that average pay for nonfederal
        security/police officers in the area with similar duties was more than 68
        percent higher than average federal police officer pay. From 1980 to
        1988, the shipyard had six chiefs of police, all of whom left for higher
        paying positions. An assistant chief left to take a higher paying position
        as a local township patrolman.
.       A Leavenworth VA official told us that “it is embarrassing to tell (police)
        applicants what we are offering as a salary. Existing staff are embar-
        rassed by advertisements in the paper because the pay is so low.” He
        added that “employees in this occupation cannot support their families
        due to the low pay.”
.       In exit interviews at the VA hospital in St. Louis, some departing officers
        said local police and private security guards earn $6,000 to $7,000 a
        year more than what VA paid. VA officials said that the hospital’s average
        on-board strength in 1989 was 27 police officers; of these, 22 left for
        higher paying jobs.
l       According to March 1990 salary information compiled by Navy officials
        in Norfolk, starting salaries for police recruits in the Norfolk MSAranged
        from $18,180 to $20,983 a year while the Navy was offering entry-level
        police recruits in Norfolk from $11,897 to $14,573 a year.
.       VA data on salaries for the police occupation in Detroit showed that
        entry-level salaries at VA for the same level of work trailed other
        employers by nearly 26 percent. According to a VA official in Detroit, all
        seven of the police officers who quit between May 1988 and April 1989
        did so because of pay; one reportedly quit because he was able to make
        more money “flipping burgers.”
l       The chief of police and security service at the Bedford, Massachusetts,
        VA hospital said that rookie police officers’ base pay in a nearby town
        was as much as his own salary (about $28,000 to $29,000 a year).
    l   According to a 1987 special rate application for practical nurses at the
        Boston VAMC,the average entry-level salary for VA practical nurses was
        $3,000 a year lower than in other area hospitals. The application noted
        that 20 of the 28 quits between September 1,1986, and September 1,
         1987, were for pay. A 1988 VAMCspecial rate application noted that 14
        of 16 practical nursing quits between June 30, 1987, and June 30,1988,
        were for pay.
    .    In a 1989 salary survey of hiring rates for practical nurses at 37 hospi-
        tals in the Atlanta area, the Atlanta VAMCranked last.



        Page 34                                     GAO/GGD-90-117Inadequate Federal Pay
                                 Chapter 2
                                 Respondents’Perceptions of Causeaof
                                 Federal Recruitment and
                                 Retention Conditione




                             l At the Kansas City VA hospital, 22 of 28 registered nurse losses from
                               April 1988 through March 1989 were quits for pay; 20 of 24 practical
                               nurse losses from July 1988 through June 1989 were quits for pay; and
                                12 of 14 pharmacist losses in another 12-month period were quits for
                               pay.
                             9 A 1988 special salary rate review done by 11 federal agencies for regis-
                               tered nurses in Chicago showed that the federal/nonfederal wage gap
                               increased with the level of job experience. For example, federal regis-
                               tered nurses with no prior work experience made about $2,000 a year
                               less than nonfederal nurses. At 1 year of experience the difference was
                               almost $3,000, and at 3 years the difference was nearly $4,000. The
                               same widening of the gap by experience level was also apparent in
                               regard to clerk typist salaries in the Chicago area.
                             . According to a VA official in Los Angeles, recruiters from other medical
                               facilities in the area offered nurses up to $4,000 hiring bonuses and sala-
                               ries of up to $30 an hour as of January 1990. VA salaries in the Los
                               Angeles area, with special rates, were $15.67 to $21.85 an hour as of
                               January 1990.
                             l According to two nurse recruiters, entry-level registered nurses at the
                               Bronx and Brooklyn VAMCSearned $28,072 a year at the end of 1989.
                               Local competitors paid starting salaries of $32,760 to $35,600 a year. A
                               1989 Bronx VA memo stated that one-third of the registered nurses who
                               resigned said pay was the reason they left; all but one left for similar
                               positions at higher pay.

Availability of Other Jobs       The availability of jobs outside the agency in the respondents’ geo-
Also Important to                graphic area was the factor cited by the respondents as second in impor-
                                 tance to pay as a reason to leave federal employment and to decline a
Recruitment and Retention        federal job offer in these occupations. Over 71 percent of the respon-
                                 dents said the availability of jobs outside their agencies in their areas
                                 was either a “somewhat important” or “very important” reason to
                                 leave; over 63 percent said it was a reason to decline a job offer.

                                 Like federal pay, the respondents’ perceptions of the importance of the
                                 availability of other jobs as a reason to leave or to decline varied across
                                 the geographic areas. Over 80 percent of respondents in high cost/pay
                                 areas viewed job availability in their areas as a reason to decline federal
                                 employment, compared to just over 45 percent of respondents in low
                                 cost/pay areas. For example, respondents in the San Antonio MSA-
                                 where the local economy was depressed at the time of our review-




                                 Page 36                                   GAO/GGD!W417JnadequateFederal Pay
    chapter 2                                                                           ,
    hpondenta’ Perceptiona of Causesof
    Federal Recruitment and
    R.otmtion Conditiona




    more commonly said job availability was a reason to stay with the fed-
    eral government and to accept a federal job offer.2 In the interviews,
    several of the San Antonio respondents referred to the area’s economic
    decline and tight labor market.

    Most respondents, however, said the availability of nonfederal work
    was a reason to leave. In explaining their answers, a number of these
    respondents cited examples of how the availability of nonfederal jobs
    adversely affected federal recruitment and retention.

. According to a VAofficial in the New York MSA,and as documented in the
  VA special salary rate request for pharmacists, the steady expansion of
  retail store pharmacies, other hospital-based pharmacies, and large
  pharmacy chain stores in the New York area created a competitive job
  market for pharmacists. The official said a number of VA pharmacists
  resigned to work in chain pharmacies.
. According to a special rate request for clerical occupations in the Chi-
  cago area, “private employers have largely absorbed what quality cler-
  ical candidates there were in the job market with the residue being
  attracted to the federal government as the ‘employer of last resort’-a
  cliche that is alive and well in Chicago today.” One agency representa-
  tive said, “We’re getting the splinters off the bottom of the barrel.”
. The chief of classification at the Hines VAMCin Chicago said that when
  unemployment rates are high, Hines tends to get much better quality
   applicants. The official quipped that “what is really needed is a good
  multi-year recession to staff up positions with good quality applicants.
  Recessions do wonders for (federal) recruitment.”
. According to a VA personnel specialist, the Atlanta VAMCcompetes for
  nurses and other medical staff against approximately 40 hospitals and a
  number of nursing homes within commuting distance of the VAMC.He
   said the VAMCloses approximately 20 percent of its practical nurses to
  just four of these hospitals each year because of their proximity to the
  VAMC,their pay rates, and their reputation for quality health care.
l  Competition for nurses in the Philadelphia area was also intense,
   according to the VA. A VA official told us that there were 129 hospitals
   accredited by the American Hospital Association within the Philadel-
   phia area. Whenever another facility had an available position, VAMC
   officials said their practical nurses left.
. The chief of the Dallas VAMC'Snursing service estimated there were 8 to
   10 job openings for every registered nurse in the Dallas area.


    2Asnoted in app.I, the follow-up interviews were donebetweenDecember1989and May 1990.



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                            Chapter 2
                            Be8pondenta’Perc49ptlomof Causeaof
                            Federal Becruitnwnt and
                            Retention conditions




                            In some instances, the availability of nonfederal jobs was a byproduct of
                            government requirements. For example, an EPArespondent for the envi-
                            ronmental engineer occupation in New York noted that legislative man-
                            dates require EPAto implement an expanding, more sophisticated
                            capability for hazardous waste clean up and minimization. The respon-
                            dent said that continued growth of the private sector in these areas
                            “will be an increasing source of competition for EPAin its recruiting of
                            entry-level environmental engineers and in attracting EPA’Ssenior-level
                            environmental engineers and managers.”


Respondentsfor Nursing      After pay and job availability, other factors were generally considered
Occupations Said            to be less important reasons to leave or to decline federal employment.
                            However, certain factors were seen as especially important for certain
Understaffing Is the Most   occupations. For example, respondents for the nursing occupations said
Important Reasonto Leave    the “staffing” factor (i.e., the number of staff assigned to handle the
or to Decline               work load) was the most important reason to leave federal jobs (out-
                            stripping even federal pay) and was the second most important factor to
                            decline federal job offers. (See fig. 2.6.) Nearly 86 percent of the respon-
                            dents for the nursing occupations said staffing was a reason to leave
                            federal employment, compared to between 40 and 53 percent of the
                            respondents for the other occupational categories. The difference
                            between the nursing occupations and the other occupational groups was
                            even greater on the recruitment questions. Nearly 80 percent of the
                            respondents for the nursing occupations said staffing was a reason to
                            decline federal job offers, compared to about 20 percent of the respon-
                            dents for the other occupational categories.




                            Page 37                                   GAO/GGJMt@117Inadequate Fedeml Pay
                                          Chaptm 2
                                          Respondents’Perceptions of Cameaof
                                          Federal Recruitment and
                                          Retention C4mditiom




Figure 2.6: Respondent8 for Nursing
Occupatlon# Moot Frequently Viewed
                                          100   Percent of respondents
Staffing a8 a Rea8on to Leave and
Decline Federal Employment                 90
                                           50
                                           70
                                           60
                                           50

                                           40

                                           30

                                           20

                                           10

                                            0
                                                                      I
                                                Staffing Viewed       Stafflng Viewed
                                                as “Reason to         as “Reason to
                                                Lseve”                Decline”
                                                Respondents Mews of “Staffing” factor


                                                I        Respondents for Nursing Occupations
                                                         Respondents for Professional Occupations
                                                         Respondents for Clerical~ech-kal    Occupations
                                                         Respondents for Police Occupation




                                          The importance of staffing to recruitment and retention in the nursing
                                          occupations was made clear through the examples cited in the subse-
                                          quent interviews. For example, a respondent for the nursing occupation
                                          at the Leavenworth VA hospital said that “the lack of competitive salary
                                          . . for LPNSleads to staffing shortages. This shortage adds to the pres-
                                          sures on the remaining staff. . . [and] subsequently the existing staff
                                          leave due to the compounded pressures.” Other respondents cited the
                                          following specific examples of federal understaffing:

                                      . At the St. Louis VA hospital, a nursing respondent said the patient-to-
                                        staff ratio was 30 to 1 on some floors; the respondent said that in other
                                        St. Louis-area hospitals the patient-to-staff ratio was 6 to 1.
                                      l At the B,oston VAMCand the Bedford (Massachusetts) VA hospital, respon-
                                        dents for the practical nurse occupation said federal understaffing was
                                        a “very important” reason for practical nurses to leave and to decline



                                          Page 38                                                      GAO/GGDSO-117Inadequate Federal Pay
    Chaptir 2
    lteapondenta’ Perceptiona of Causesof
    Federal lbcrubnent and
    Retention conditione




  federal jobs. According to respondents at the Boston VAMC,31.2 percent
  of the authorized practical nurse positions at the medical center were
  vacant at the end of 1989-considerably     higher than the statewide
  average. According to an agency official at the Bedford hospital, author-
  ized practical nurse positions were cut from 623 in 1988 to 432 in 1990.
. In exit interviews with nursing staff leaving in 1987 from the Hines VA
  hospital in Chicago, nearly 70 percent said staffing at the hospital was
  either fair or poor. According to the nurse recruiter at Hines, practical
  nurses at VA facilities end up doing more and getting paid less than their
  counterparts at nonfederal facilities.

    Although less frequent overall, staffing difficulties were also cited as
    important reasons for recruiting and retention problems in some loca-
    tions for other occupations.

. An EPAofficial in New York said their office had 50 environmental engi-
  neer vacancies, The official said that this situation contributed to frus-
  tration, leading to even more turnover.
. An OSHAofficial in New York said 30 percent of the agency’s industrial
   hygienist positions were vacant at the time of our interview; the
   regional administrator attributed this to the agency’s inability to offer
   salaries comparable to those in the private sector. The OSHAofficial said
  each hygienist is expected to handle 40 inspections a year, which the
  official termed a “tremendous work load.” He said this work load was
  expected to grow because of the AIDSepidemic and other health issues
   such as repetitive motion disease.
l  At the Boston VAMC,the chief of pharmacy said the number of pharma-
   cists had been cut because of budget reductions, but the work load had
   not changed. The chief of pharmacy said many pharmacists there felt
  that if they must “work like mad” they may as well take better paying
  jobs in the private sector. A pharmacist in Los Angeles stated in her exit
  interview that her job required a 60-hour work week to fulfill her
   responsibilities. Other pharmacists commented in their October 1988
   exit interviews that the workload was “heavy” and that there was
   “never enough help.”
9 The Bronx VAMCchief of medical administration told us that medical
   clerks get “burned out” handling the work load caused by constant
  vacancies. This, in turn, reportedly causes more turnover. The official
   said medical clerks are often asked to cover two positions at one time
   and, as a result, experienced clerks are often overworked, frustrated,
   and suffer from low morale.
. Officials at the Los Angeles VAMCsaid clerk typists in their Personnel
   Employment and Records Section must serve approximately 800 to 900


    Page 39                                   GAO/GGD-SO-117
                                                           Inadequate Federal Pay
                            Chapter 2
                            Rei~pondent#Perwptlone of Cnueer of
                            Federal Ilecruitment and
                            Retention Conditiona




                            employees. They said this work load was two to three times what was
                            normal for clerk typists in the Section. The officials said this work load
                            and the associated stress were contributing factors to these employees
                            leaving VA and seeking less stressful jobs.


Other Factors Also Seenas   The respondents said that several other factors were important to fed-
Important to Federal        era1 recruitment and retention, although their perceived importance was
                            not nearly so widespread as pay, job availability, and staffing. Never-
Recruitment and Retention   theless, a large portion of the respondents (though not necessarily the
                            majority or even a plurality) believed they were important to under-
                            standing federal recruitment and retention difficulties.

Career Advancement          In some instances, respondents saw certain factors as important for
Opportunities               either recruitment or retention, but not both. For example, nearly 46
                            percent of the respondents said the factor “career advancement oppor-
                            tunities available” was a reason to leave federal employment; however,
                            this factor was generally not viewed as a hindrance to recruitment. In
                            fact, career advancementopportunities    were among the strongest per-
                            ceived reasons for accepting a federal job. (See table 2.2 below.)

                            There were strong differences across the occupational categories
                            regarding the perceived importance of this factor to federal retention.
                            (See fig. 2.7.) About 66 to 70 percent of the respondents for the profes-
                            sional and police occupations viewed career advancement as a reason to
                            leave federal employment. Conversely, respondents for the clerical/
                            technical and nursing occupations generally viewed career advancement
                            as a reason to stay in federal jobs.




                            Page 40                                   GAO/GGDBO-117Inadequate Federal Pay
                                             Chapter 2
                                             Ibpondents’ Perceptions of Causesof
                                             Federal Recruitment and
                                             Retention Conditione




and Police Occupation8 Most Frequently       100     Parcent of respondents
Viewed Career Advancement ar a
Reason to Leave Federal Employment            90
                                              so
                                             70
                                             60
                                             30
                                             40

                                             30

                                             20

                                             10




                                                   Occupation for which respondent answered


                                                     I        “Reason to Leave”
                                                              “Reason to Stay”




                                             In explaining their answers, several respondents for the professional
                                             and police occupations noted the short career paths in those fields.

                                         l A Social Security Administration (?&A)official in Philadelphia said that
                                           attorneys have little opportunity to go beyond the ~~-12 level and, as a
                                           result, leave after 5 years for higher pay.
                                         . An IRSofficial in New York said their “constant attrition problem” for
                                           attorneys at IRSwas “due mainly to non-competitive salaries and lack of
                                           promotional opportunities being offered to attorneys by the IRS in the
                                           New York area.” The official provided statistics which showed that of
                                           the 23 attorneys hired from October 1984 to February 1986, only 3 were
                                           still with the office at the end of 1989; of the 23 attorneys hired in
                                           November 1986, only 8 remained at the end of 1989. The official went
                                           on to say that “it is anticipated we will lose a good number of the 1987
                                           hires during 1990, as well as some of the remaining 1986 hires.” He said



                                             Page 41                                          GAO/GGD90-117Inadequate Federal Pay
                                  Ohapter 2
                                  Reqmndento’ Perceptions of Causesof
                                  Federal Ibcruitment and
                                  Betentlon   cOndttiom3




                                their attorneys see “limited, and sometimes no area, for advancement as
                                attorneys within IRS."
                              l A VAMC personnel manager in Atlanta said the average pharmacist at the
                                medical center does not advance beyond GS-11 because very few super-
                                visory positions exist at Gs-12.
                              . Respondents for the police occupation at the U.S. Mint in Philadelphia
                                and the Naval Sea Systems Command in Philadelphia said that the occu-
                                pation has a very limited career track. A U.S. Mint official said that
                                police officers can only advance to the GS-6level without assuming
                                supervisory responsibilities; because few such opportunities exist, the
                                officers leave.

bngth of Recruitment/Hiring       Although the length of the federal recruitment and hiring process is
Process                           commonly considered an impediment to recruitment, about the same
                                  number of respondents (about 40 percent) said the process had “no
                                  effect” as said it was a reason to decline a federal job offer. However,
                                  those respondents who said it was a reason to decline commonly said
                                  prospective employees find other employment while waiting to hear
                                  from federal agencies and cited numerous examples of the lengthy fed-
                                  eral hiring process:

                              l   An EPApersonnel official in Dallas estimated that it takes about 3
                                months to get an attorney on board, partly because of the extensive
                                interview process. Candidates must be interviewed by the regional coun-
                                selor, the deputy, and branch chiefs before an offer can be made.
                              . OSHAofficials in New York said that the recruitment and hiring process
                                for industrial hygienists takes from 2 to 4 months, including a complete
                                physical, which takes about 6 weeks to coordinate.
                              l An OSHAofficial in Atlanta reported that the lengthy hiring process
                                causes them to lose some industrial hygienist recruits. The official said
                                it takes as long as 3 months to fill an industrial hygienist vacancy
                                because all applicants must apply and be certified on an OPMregister.
                              . An official at the Portsmouth Naval Hospital in the Norfolk area
                                reported that industrial hygienist applicants the hospital can afford to
                                hire were usually entry-level college graduates who needed a job and
                                often accepted the first offer they received. The official told us that the
                                federal government’s lengthy hiring process made it hard for them to
                                make offers before candidates receive offers from the private sector.
                              l Army officials in Baltimore said it can take as long as 6 months from the
                                time of selection to the time a clerk typist reports for duty if a security
                                clearance is involved.




                                  Page 42                                  GAO/GGDBO-117Inadequate Federal Pay
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                     Respondenta’Perceptions of Causeaof
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                     Retention Condition8




                   . According to a Manhattan (New York) VAMCofficial, the lag time for
                     filling a medical clerk (typing) vacancy from an OPMregister averages
                     167 to 170 days.

EmployeeBenefits     A number of the respondents viewed the federal employee benefits pro-
                      gram (leave, health insurance, retirement, etc.) as a reason to stay in
                     current federal jobs (38 percent) and to accept a federal job offer (60
                     percent). (See table 2.2 below.) However, another group of respondents
                     said benefits were a reason to leave (37 percent) and to decline federal
                     jobs (33 percent). This apparent contradiction seems to exist because of
                     the respondents’ differing views on specific elements of the benefits
                     program.

                     While federal annual and sick leave were usually viewed by the respon-
                     dents in the follow-up interviews as at least equal to nonfederal leave,
                     federal health and life insurance benefits were frequently seen as
                     inferior and therefore a reason to leave or decline federal jobs. Several
                     respondents reported that federal health benefits had “eroded” or
                     “gotten worse” over the past several years. Singled out for particular
                     criticism were high employee premiums and inadequate hospitalization
                     coverage.

                     There were substantial differences in the perception of benefits as a
                     reason to leave federal jobs or decline federal job offers between respon-
                     dents in the various subcategories. For example, respondents in high
                     cost/pay areas were much more likely to view benefits as a reason to
                     leave federal jobs (66.5 percent) than respondents in low cost/pay areas
                     (16.6 percent). (See fig. 2.8.)




                     Page 43                                  GAO/GGIMO-117Inadequate Federal Pay
                                           Chapter 2
                                           Respondent# Pemeptiona of Canseaof
                                           Federal Ikeaultntent and
                                           Rekention Conditiona




Piy Anrcl Moat Frequontiy Viiwed
                                           100   Portent of respondents
Bonditr a# a Rearon to Leave Federal
Employment                                  00
                                            80
                                            70




                                                 High CoWPay          Modlum          Low costmfly
                                                 Aroaa                CostPay Areas   Amas

                                                 Co&/pay area of rorpondwtfr


                                                 I        “Reason to Stay”
                                                          “Reason to Leave”



                                           There were also differences in the perception of “benefits” across the
                                           occupational categories. Respondents for the nursing and professional
                                           occupations were more likely to view federal benefits as a reason to
                                           leave federal jobs and to decline federal job offers than respondents for
                                           the clerical/technical or police jobs. Also, high quit rate respondents
                                           most frequently said federal benefits were a reason to leave, whereas
                                           low quit rate respondents most commonly said they were a reason to
                                           stay.

                                           In the follow-up interviews, the respondents described the negative
                                           effect federal benefits had on recruitment and retention as follows:

                                       l   The EPAhuman resource manager in New York said private sector bene-
                                           fits were more generous than federal benefits, which contributed to
                                           their loss of environmental engineers. The manager said the private
                                           sector offered environmental engineers in New York a better choice of
                                           employer paid health plans and were given other perquisites, including a
                                           company car, bonuses, and profit sharing plans.



                                           Page 44                                             GAO/GGIMJ@117Inadequate Federal Pay
                           Chapter 2
                           Respondenta’Perceptions of Causesof
                           Federal Recruitment and
                           Retention CondiUon.8




                       l The chiefs of pharmacy services at three of the VAMCS in the New York
                         area said private sector benefits for pharmacists were superior to fed-
                         eral benefits and included paid health insurance with dental and optical
                         coverage or lower employee co-payments, free life insurance, a shorter
                         work week, paid professional association dues, retention bonuses, and
                         substantial tuition reimbursement.
                       9 At the Army National Guard in Boston, an agency official said federal
                         employees paid a much higher premium for health insurance than other
                         employees in the Boston area. He said private sector employees in the
                         area generally paid from 0 to 16 percent of the cost of health insurance
                         premiums. He noted that health premiums were especially burdensome
                         for individuals in low paying jobs, such as clerk typists.
                       . According to VAMCofficials in Los Angeles, the private sector offered
                         registered nurses in Southern California a number of benefits and incen-
                         tives the VAMCdid not offer, including free 1Zhour night child care; free
                         maid service for 1 year; free hospitalization, life insurance, and dental
                         coverage; and van pool transportation.

Physical Environment       Another factor some of the respondents said adversely affected federal
                           recruitment and retention was the work site’s physical environment
                           (defined in the questionnaire as the attractiveness of the work setting
                           and the availability of support equipment). Over 35 percent of the
                           respondents said the physical environment of these federal jobs in these
                           locations was a reason to leave, and over 30 percent said the factor was
                           a reason to decline an offer of employment. Respondents with recruiting
                           problems were more likely to view the physical environment of the
                           workplace as a reason to decline (nearly 40 percent) than were respon-
                           dents without such problems (just over 10 percent). There were also dif-
                           ferences by occupational category, with respondents for the nursing
                           occupations most likely to view physical environment as a reason to
                           leave.

                           In the subsequent interviews, the respondents cited several examples of
                           why the physical environment was viewed as a negative recruitment
                           and retention factor.

                       . The personnel chief of the Kansas City EPAsaid the agency’s environ-
                         mental engineers work in the basement of the building where there are
                         ventilation problems, no windows, and leaks. The personnel chief said
                         these conditions cause employees to leave and creates a poor image of
                         the agency for potential recruits.
                       . An OSHAofficial in New York said industrial hygienists work in small,
                         cramped offices and lack the proper personal protective equipment to


                           Page 45                                 GAO/GGD-90-117Inadequate Federal Pay
                                              Chapter2
                                              Re#pondent# Perceptions of Causesof
                                              Federal Recruitment and
                                              Retention Condition9




                                              ensure workplace safety. The official said these factors negatively
                                              affect employee morale and agency recruitment efforts.
                                          9   At one Army installation in Baltimore, agency officials reported that
                                              clerk typists have left because of the poor working conditions. During
                                              the summer months, they said, one building becomes infested with bird
                                              lice that bite employees. An Army official said that some of their build-
                                              ings were constructed during World War I and were meant to last only
                                              18 months when originally built.
                                          .   An agency official at the Bedford (Massachusetts) VA hospital said that
                                              medical clerks work in unattractive wards where psychiatric patients
                                              routinely wander in and disturb them. The official said one clerk typist
                                              left during her first week because of the physical environment.
                                          .   In exit interviews with nursing staff at the Hines VAMCin Chicago in
                                              1987, 16 of 26 nurses said the availability of equipment and equipment
                                              maintenance were “poor.” The chief of classification at the Hines VAMC
                                              said that although they realized that one way to attract and retain regis-
                                              tered nurses was to offer access to state-of-the-art equipment, they were
                                              forced to spend a significant portion of their operating budget on
                                              training and overtime because of the recruitment and retention
                                              problems. Thus, they are caught in a catch-22 dilemma-they      can’t
                                              afford a possible solution to the problem because the symptoms of the
                                              problem are so expensive.
                                          .   A nursing respondent at the Kansas City VA said that the “bleak sur-
                                              roundings” in the 50-year old VA facility were easily noted by applicants
                                              during tours, which “turns potential employees off immediately.” The
                                              respondent said “who wants to work in this type of environment when
                                              they can go across town to a fairly new hospital?”

                                              Not all the news about recruitment and retention in the federal govern-
Job Security Viewed                           ment was bad, however. Many of the respondents said certain elements
as Primary Reasonto                           of federal employment were positive inducements for recruitment and
Stay in or Accept                             retention. Table 2.2 and figures 2.9 and 2.10 show the factors the
                                              respondents most frequently said caused employees to stay in federal
Federal Employment                            jobs and applicants to accept a federal job offer.
Table 2.2: Respondents Said Job
Security Was the Primary Reason to Stay       Retention factors and percent who said   Recruitment factors and percent who
in and Accept Federal Employment              “reason to stay”                         said “reason to accept”
                                              Job security (78.7)                      Job security (84.8)
                                              Training opportunity (45.7)              Career opportunities (57.6)
                   u                          Content of work (38.6)                   Benefits (50.2)
                                              Career opportunities (38.6)              Training opportunity (49.4)
                                              Benefits (38.2)                          Content of work (43.5)




                                              Page 46                                      GAO/GGD-90-117Inadequate Federal Pay
                                      Chapter 2
                                      Respondents’Perception of Causesof
                                      Federal Recruitment and
                                      l?&entIon Condition




Figure 2.9: Reapondentr Said Job
SecuW Wa8 the Pflmary Rea8on to SKY   ,oo   Petcentof respondents
in Federal Employment
                                       90

                                       80

                                       70

                                       60

                                       so

                                      40

                                      30

                                      20

                                      10

                                       0




                                      Fsctors said to be reasons to stay


                                            El       “Somewhat Important Reason to Stay”
                                                     “Very Important Reason to Stay”




                  Y




                                      Page 47                                              GAO/GGDBO-117Inadequate Federal Pay
                                     Chapter 2
                                     Reqwndentcr’Pemptiona of Canrreeof
                                     Federal Recruitment and
                                     IMention Conditions




Flgure 2.10: Respondents Said Job
Security Was the Primary Reason to   100   Percent of respondents
Accept Federal Job Offers
                                      90

                                      80

                                     70

                                     60

                                     60

                                     40

                                     30

                                     20
                                                   ::.




                                     Factors eald to be reasons to accept

                                           1      1 “Somewhat Important Reason to Accepr
                                                    “Very Important Reason to Accept”



                                     Respondents’ perceptions of the factors represented a definite hier-
                                     archy. Overall, the respondents most frequently considered federal job
                                     security (defined as the stability of the government as an employer) as a
                                     positive factor for both federal recruitment and retention. All the other
                                     factors, though considered relevant, were much less frequently cited as
                                     reasons to stay in or accept federal employment.

Job Security Most                     Nearly 80 percent of the respondents said job security was a reason to
                                      stay in federal jobs, outdistancing all other factors by over 30 per-
Frequently Viewed as                  centage points. An even larger percentage of the respondents-nearly
Reasonto Accept and Keep             85 percent-said federal job security was a reason to accept a federal
Federal Jobs                         job offer. There were no substantial differences in the responses
                   ”
                                     between the occupational or geographic groups or between those with
                                     and without recruitment or retention problems.



                                     Page 48                                               GAO/GGDsO-117Inadequate Federal Pay
  I                          cmuptsr2
                             ReBponden~‘Fereeptionsorcausesof
                             FededReiwitmentand
                             Retention Cmdltio~




                             In the follow-up interviews, agency respondents commonly said
                             employees are attracted to and stay in the federal government because
                             they believe the federal government is a more stable employer than
                             most nonfederal employers. Also noted was that federal employees are
                             protected from summary dismissal by standard procedures and appeal
                             rights, unlike some employees in the private sector. The following exam-
                             ples illustrate the importance the respondents accorded to federal job
                             security:
                           . An IRSofficial in Detroit noted that the agency is considered a secure
                              employer because it has never had a reduction in force. One official at
                              the Atlanta V!C said they had not had a mass layoff in 15 years. Simi-
                              larly, officials at Ft. Meade, Maryland, said employees feel their jobs are
                             secure since they have not had a reduction in force since 1973.
                             EPA line managers in Dallas said engineers became more concerned with
                             job security when the oil bust left many engineers unemployed.
                             Naval Environmental Health Center officials in Norfolk said that job
                             security was very important to industrial hygienists because they were
                             usually not recent college graduates and were looking for a stable
                             career. One official said that, unlike in the private sector, there was no
                             pressure on their employees to retire.
                           . An Air Force official in San Antonio said federal job security was an
                             important reason for clerk typists to accept a federal job offer and to
                             stay with the federal government because the private sector is a more
                             “free-hire and fire” environment, particularly with the depressed
                             economy in the San Antonio area.
                             According to the personnel officer at the VA regional office in Detroit, the
                             economic situation in Detroit and Michigan as a whole has made local
                             and state government jobs less secure than clerk typist positions in the
                             federal government.
                             Two VAMC nurse recruiters in New York said nurses in private and com-
                             munity hospitals fear being dismissed with no more than 2 week’s
                             notice, whereas VA procedures protect them from being fired on the
                             whim of a supervisor.


Federal Training             A number of the respondents said that federal training opportunities
Opportunities Are a          were a reason to accept a federal job offer (49.4 percent) and to stay in
                             federal jobs (45.7 percent). This was particularly true for respondents
Reasonto Accept and Stay     for the nursing and professional occupations. Several respondents
in Federal Jobs-for a        described the types of training that would cause a job applicant to
While at Least               choose the federal government.



                             Page 49                                   GAO/GGD-90-117Inadequate Federal Pay
  Chapter 2
  Bespondenta’Perceptions of Cameo of
  Federal Recruitment and
  Retention Condition8




. OSHAofficials in Atlanta said each industrial hygienist goes through a 3-
  year training program at the agency’s training institute before becoming
  a full-performance hygienist.
. At the Naval Environmental Health Center in Norfolk, each industrial
  hygienist has an individual training plan and a training goal of 64 hours
  a year.
9 Attorneys at IRSin New York receive 8 weeks of formal training, which
  IRS officials said was a major incentive for applicants to accept
  employment.
. Environmental engineers in Philadelphia are provided extensive formal
  and informal training in environmental laws and regulations along with
  tuition reimbursement for job-related college courses.
. The chief of security at the Hines VAMC in Chicago said they offer every
  entry level police officer 40 hours of VAtraining, 12 weeks of training
  the Chicago police receive, as well as post-entry training.

  A respondent for the general attorney occupation at IRSin New York
  said
  “
      . marketable experience is still the key in recruiting from law school graduating
          .   .


  classes.And there is no doubting the experience. While we ask for a four-year com-
  mitment (which we recognize is unenforceable in law), a private practitioner, partic-
  ularly associated with a major firm, will still be carrying a partner’s briefcase when
  not doing research in the firm’s library on his/her fourth anniversary; in the Office
  of Chief Counsel, that sameindividual would have compiled an impressive resume
  of Tax Court Trial work . . .”

  However, many of the respondents noted that the presence of federal
  training opportunities is a double-edged sword. On the one hand it can
  help recruit workers who may lack job-related training and experience;
  on the other hand, that same training can be the gateway to nonfederal
  employment. The Los Angeles Federal Executive Board and the College
  Federal Council for Southern California called this phenomenon the
  “revolving door syndrome:”

  “‘[w]e recruit them, hire and train them, and they are gone to a local government or
  private position which is more advantageous to them.’ Thus [the] [flederal govern-
  ment becomesa publicly supported training center for employees who have no
  choice but to seek better paying jobs in order to find a reasonable standard of
  living.”

  Numerous examples of this “revolving door” pattern were cited by the
  respondents in the follow-up interviews across all the occupational
  categories.


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    Chapter 2
    Respondents’Perceptions of Causesof
    Federal Recruitient and
    Retention Conditions




. According to the EPAhuman resources officer in Chicago, EPAhas not
  had trouble recruiting for the environmental engineer occupation, but
  there has been high turnover in the occupation. The EPAofficial said
  engineers are eager to work with the EPA because 3 to 6 years of experi-
  ence and formal training are valuable for career advancement in the pri-
  vate sector. One suburban waste management firm in the private sector
  hired so many engineers away from EPAthey were jokingly referred to
  as “EPA West.” The official said EPAhas become a government subsidized
  training program for the private sector. A similar “revolving door” pat-
  tern was reported at EPAin New York.
l The OH-IAregional administrator in New York said the agency has
  invested thousands of dollars in training each industrial hygienist, only
  to lose them to private industry after they spend 1 to 3 years with the
  federal government.
. Although the personnel officer at the VA regional office in Detroit
  believed training was an important reason for clerk typists to stay with
  the agency, the officer noted that such employees often leave the federal
  government once they become trained. The official said the situation
  will probably get worse as the demand for quality typists increases.
l A former tax examiner supervisor for IRSin Detroit said the state of
  Michigan used an automated tax collection system similar to that used
  by the IRS.She said many tax examiners transfer to the state once they
  are trained by the IRSsince pay levels and benefits are better in Mich-
  igan state government than in the federal government.
l The chief of security at the Hines VAMCin Chicago said that he viewed
  himself as a “doormat” because so many police recruits reaped federal
  training benefits and then left for better jobs.
. According to agency officials, registered nurses and practical nurses in
  New York’s VAMCSparticipate in a variety of training experiences,
  including a 110 hour intensive care unit course for registered nurses.
  They said this training makes the nurses very marketable. It is not
  uncommon, they said, for nurses to work at a VA hospital for 2 years,
  receive valuable hands-on and formal training, and then leave for better
  paying jobs.




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                                 Chapter2
                                 Rmpondenu’ Pmceptlom of Cause13
                                                               of
                                 Federal Recruitment and
                                 Retention Conditiona




Federal Career                   Career advancement opportunities, although previously noted as a
Advancement                      reason to leave federal jobs, were also viewed by some of the respon-
                                 dents as a positive feature of federal employment, with 38.6 percent
Opportunities Aid Clerical       saying they are a reason to stay in federal jobs and 67.6 percent saying
Recruitment and                  they are a reason to accept federal employment offers.
Retention-but in
Different Occupations            Strong differences existed across the occupational categories. For
                                 example, about half of the respondents for the nursing and clerical/tech-
                                 nical occupations said career advancement opportunities were a reason
                                 to stay with the federal government. Conversely, just over 10 percent of
                                 the respondents for the police occupation and less than 26 percent of the
                                 respondents for the professional occupations said career advancement
                                 was a reason to stay in federal jobs.

                                 For clerical/technical occupations, though, the respondents said that it
                                 was not career advancement in those particular occupations that was
                                 relevant so much as the possibility of advancement into other federal
                                 occupations.

                             l Officials at Ft. Meade in Baltimore indicated that the career opportuni-
                               ties for clerk typists were limited at that installation, but other federal
                                agencies provided such opportunities. Therefore, they said applicants
                               will take a clerical job at Ft. Meade to get into the federal government
                                and then move to better paying positions. Officials at the Baltimore   VAMC


                                said this was also true with regard to medical clerks, who viewed their
                               jobs as a stepping-stone to get into government employment.
                             . According to an IRSpersonnel official in Dallas, tax examiners use their
                                positions as stepping-stones to other IRSpositions with greater career
                                advancement opportunities (e.g., IRSrevenue officer). As evidence of
                               that career path, an IRSrecruiting survey in Denver found that of the 79
                                respondents who said the position of tax examiner was their first job,
                               only 61 were still tax examiners.
                             . According to officials at the Customs Service in New York, clerk typists
                                can move into customs aide, inspector, or input specialist positions
                                within the agency. They said employees use the clerical occupations as a
                                stepping-stone to other positions within the agency.
                             l  Respondents at VA and Army in Kansas City noted that clerk typists can
                                cross over into other occupations where the full-performance level is
                                higher and there are more promotional opportunities. The chief of
                                recruiting and two staffing specialists cited themselves as examples in
                                that they started with the Corps of Engineers as clerk typists and
                                moved through the ranks to their current positions.



                                 Page 52                                  GAO/GGD9&117 Inadequate Federal Pay
                                    Chapter 2
                                    Respondents’Perceptions of Causesof
                                    Federal Recndtment and
                                    Retention Conditiouki




                                . In Boston, respondents who said career advancement opportunities were
                                  a reason for clerical employees to stay or accept a job offer also said
                                  their agency promotes from within or has an upward mobility program.
                                  At Pt. Devens, for example, an agency official told us that it is not
                                  unrealistic for clerks to work their way up to GS-11 positions or higher.
                                l Respondents for the clerk typist occupation at all of the agencies
                                  reviewed in San Antonio indicated that opportunities for advancement
                                  to other positions were an important reason to stay even though oppor-
                                  tunities within the clerk typist occupation were minimal.


Certain Federal Benefits            As noted previously, a number of the respondents said parts of the fed-
Seenas Federal                      eral employee benefits program, particularly annual and sick leave,
                                    were a positive feature of federal employment (38.2 percent reported
Recruitment and Retention           that benefits were a reason to stay in federal jobs, and 60.2 percent said
Incentives                          they were a reason to accept a federal employment offer). The respon-
                                    dents’ views differed across the geographic and occupational categories.
                                    Respondents in low cost/pay areas were about twice as likely to con-
                                    sider benefits a reason to stay and a reason to accept a federal job offer
                                    than respondents in high cost/pay areas. Respondents for clerical and
                                    technical jobs were most likely to view benefits as a reason to stay or
                                    accept federal jobs; respondents for professional jobs were least likely to
                                    view benefits as a retention or recruitment incentive.

                                    Examples cited by respondents of why federal benefits were viewed
                                    positively included the following:

                            l Respondents for the nursing occupations at the VA hospital in San
                              Antonio said federal leave benefits were better than such benefits in the
                              private sector. They also noted that employees with longer service
                              under the civil service retirement system would be well served to stay
                              with the federal government and avoid losing the opportunity to retire
                              at a reasonable age and pay rate.
                            . Respondents for registered nurses at the Portsmouth Naval Hospital in
                              the Norfolk area indicated there were more positive than negative
                              aspects in the federal government’s benefits package. Advantages cited
                              included the more flexible use of federal annual and sick leave com-
                              pared to the private sector, as well as the Thrift Savings Plan portion of
                              the FERSretirement system.
                            l The Manhattan VAMCpersonnel officer said federal health insurance and
                              leave benefits were reasons for police applicants to accept federal
                              employment, because some security guard agencies offered no benefits
                              to their employees.


                                    Page 63                                   GAO/GGD-90.117Iundequate Federal Pay
                               Chapter 2
                               Respondents’Perceptions of Caum of
                               Federal l?ecruitment and
                               ltetentionConditions




                               Some officials said that even though they believed federal benefits were
                               a reason for prospective employees to accept federal employment, they
                               also believed federal benefits were eroding.


Professionals and Nurses       The content of the work in the selected occupations and agencies was
                               also frequently viewed as a positive inducement for federal retention
Cite Content of Work as        and recruitment (38.6 percent reported work content as a reason to stay,
Reasonto Stay in/Accept        and 43.6 percent said it was a reason to accept an offer). Again, though,
Federal Jobs                   there were strong differences across the occupational categories in the
                               importance accorded this factor. Over three-quarters of the respondents
                               for the professional occupations and over half of the respondents for the
                               nursing occupations said the content of the work was an important
                               reason to stay in federal jobs or accept a federal job offer. However,
                               only about 18 to 30 percent of the respondents for the clerical/technical
                               and police occupations viewed the factor positively.

                               Examples of why work content was viewed positively by respondents
                               for the professional and nursing occupations include the following:

                           . SSAofficials in Baltimore said attorneys view the complexity and variety
                             of their work and job autonomy as being positive features of federal
                             employment.
                           . An EPAofficial in Boston said attorneys come to work at EPAto work “on
                             the cutting edge of environmental law.” Likewise, environmental engi-
                             neers are drawn to EPAand the Naval Facilities Engineering Command in
                             Philadelphia because, in the words of officials at those agencies, they
                             are on the “cutting edge of the environmental field.” EPAofficials in Phil-
                             adelphia said their attorneys like working for EPAbecause they are
                             involved in interesting and challenging environmental law issues such as
                             toxic waste control.
                           . IRSofficials in Philadelphia and New York said their general attorneys
                             find tax work very challenging. New York officials said their attorneys
                             sometimes handle billion-dollar accounts and complex cases. The Phila-
                             delphia officials also noted that the attorneys can develop expertise in
                             tax law and are given a great deal of courtroom experience.
                           l An Army respondent for the attorney occupation in St. Louis stated
                             that, while their attorneys could make more money outside the agency,
                             they liked what they were doing, the work atmosphere, the team work,
                             and the regular hours, which all helped to keep them in the agency.
                           l Officials at the Army Health Services Command in Baltimore said the
                             work content was a positive feature of federal employment for indus-
                             trial hygienists because of the challenge of dealing with a variety of


                               Page 54
                        Chapter 2
                        Respondenta’Perceptions of ~8uses   of
                        Federal Recruitment and
                        Retention C!onditions




                        hazards on a daily basis. These views were echoed by officials at the
                        Portsmouth Naval Hospital and the Naval Environmental Health Center
                        in Norfolk and at OSHAin New York. OSHAofficials in New York said
                        their hygienists are provided a wider range of work experiences than in
                        the private sector, where industrial hygienists are often limited to one
                        issue area.
                      . Nurses in the VA hospital in St. Louis told us that, although they could
                        readily obtain work outside the VA, they stayed because of the people
                        they work with and a sense of commitment to veterans.
                      . Respondents for the nurse occupation at the VA hospital in San Antonio
                        said the work was very challenging since it is a primary-care facility and
                        is affiliated with a university hospital, which provides new methods and
                        unique cases.
                      . The Bronx VAMCnurse recruiter said the content of the work for nurses
                        was a “very important” reason to stay with the federal government. She
                        noted that the center is decentralized, which affords the nurses greater
                        autonomy, independence, and responsibility.

                        As with some of the previous factors, the content of federal work,
                        although commonly viewed as a positive feature, can also inadvertently
                        lead to the loss of experienced workers. For example, an OSHAofficial in
                        Philadelphia noted that industrial hygienists receive invaluable work
                        experience because they are given the opportunity to work on a variety
                        of subjects. This, though, makes them very marketable to private sector
                        firms,


                        Several of the factors listed in the questionnaire were commonly viewed
Several Factors          by the respondents as having no effect on the stay/leave decision or the
Reported to Have No      decision to accept or decline federal employment. “Travel required in
Effect on Federal       job” was seen by over 80 percent of the respondents as having no effect
                        on recruitment or retention. Agency officials told us that most of the
Recruitment and         occupations in our review have little or no travel requirements.
Retention
                        On the basis of earlier studies, we expected two factors, the portability
                        of the FER+Sretirement system and the reputation or image of the federal
                        government, to affect federal recruitment and retention across all occu-
                        pations. However, the respondents said they had little effect in the occu-
                        pations and agencies surveyed. For example, over 60 percent of the
                        respondents said the portability of FERShad no effect on either retention
                        or recruitment. This lack of effect may be explained in part by the fact
                        that only about 20 percent of the employees on board as of December
                        31, 1986, were FERSemployees. Some officials told us it was too soon to


                        Page 65                                  GAO/GGD-So-117
                                                                              Inadequate Federal Pay
Chapter 2                                                               .
Respondents’Perceptioxwof Caulleeof
Federal ikcruitment and
Retention Condltion8




evaluate the effect of FERSon employees and applicants. They also said
retirement benefits have little effect on accept/decline or stay/leave
decisions of younger applicants and staff. In contrast, an official at the
Portsmouth Naval Hospital said that the traditional Civil Service Retire-
ment System had kept older industrial hygienists from leaving, even
though they could make more money in the private sector.




Page 56                                   GAO/GGD4O-117Inadequate Federal Pay
Respondents’Perceptions of the Effects of
Fkwuitment and Retmtion Difficulties

                                  While it is important to determine the causes of recruitment and reten-
                                  tion difficulties, an equally important concern is the extent to which
                                  these difficulties affect agency operations. For each occupation in our
                                  survey, in each MSAand agency, we asked the respondents with high
                                  quit rates and those who reported recruiting difficulties in the selected
                                  occupations to describe the extent to which these difficulties led to
                                  reduced service delivery, increased training costs, increased recruiting
                                  costs, upper-level people doing lower-level work, increased contracting
                                  costs, increased overtime pay, and reduced productivity.

                                  As tables 3.1 and 3.2 and figures 3.1. and 3.2 show, at least 81 percent
                                  of the respondents with retention problems (high quit rates) reported
                                  having six of the seven operational problems to some extent or more
                                  (indicated as “Total percent with problem” in the table). Similarly, for
                                  respondents who reported recruiting difficulties in these occupations,
                                  the corresponding responses for these six problems were all over 83 per-
                                  cent. The seventh potential operating problem-increased      contracting
                                  costs-was cited as a problem by about 20 percent of respondents
                                  reporting either retention or recruitment problems.

Table 3.1: Respondents Reported
Operatlonal Problems Created by                                     Percent of respondents reporting the
Retention Difficulties                                                           problem to                        Total
                                                                    “Some/moderate      “Great/vezxfre;?    percent with
                                  Operational problem                         extent”                           problem
                                  Reduced service delivery                       29.8                55.0           04.0
                                  Reduced productivity                           36.8                51.6           00.4
                                  Upper-level people doing lower-
                                     level work                                  33.5                53.4           86.9
                                  Increased training costs                       35.8                55.3           91.1
                                  Increased recruiting costs                     29.8                56.5           86.3
                                  Increased overtime pay                         30.4                51.3           81.7
                                  Increased contractor costs                     10.5                 8.9           19.4




                                  Page 57                                         GAO/GGDSO-117Inadequate.Federal Pay
                                   Chapter 3                                                                                    ,
                                   Respondent& Perceptions of the Effects of
                                   Recruitment and Retention Difficulties




Table 3.2: Rerpondents Reported
Operational Problemr Created by                                               Percent of respondents reporting the
Recruitment Difficulties                                                                   problem to                      Total
                                                                              “Some/moderate      “Great/very great percent with
                                   Operational problem                                  extent”              extent”    problem
                                   Reduced service delivery                                      40.2               50.3            90.5
                                   Reduced rxoductivitv                                          41.7               49.2            90.9
                                   Upper-level people doing lower-
                                      level work                                                 39.2               50.8            90.0
                                   Increased trainina costs                                      39.2               45.7            84.9
                                   Increased recruitina costs                                    35.7               52.3            88.0
                                   Increased overtime Day                                        30.2               52.8            83.0
                                   Increased contractor costs                                    14.1                8.1            22.2




Figure 3.1: Respondents Reported
Operational Problems Created by
                                   100    Percent of respondents
Retention Difficulties




                                   Oporatlonal problems

                                                    Problem Exists to “Some” or “Moderate” Extent
                                                    Problem Exists to “Great” or “Very Great” Extent
                  Y




                                   Page 58                                                        GAO/GGD-90-117Inadequate Federal Pay
                                   Chapter 3
                                   Respondents’Perceptions of the Effects of
                                   Recruitment and Retention Difficulties




Flgure 3.2: Respondent8 Reported
Operational Problems Created by    100   Percent of respondents
Recruitment Dlff ICUltie8




                                   Operational problems

                                                    Problem Exists to “Some” or “Moderate” Extent
                                                    Problem Exists to “Great” or “Very Great” Extent



                                   The intensity of the responses indicates these problems are not minor
                                   nuisances for the respondents. For each of the six frequently mentioned
                                   operational problems, about half the respondents with recruitment and/
                                   or retention difficulties said the problems existed to a “great” or “very
                                   great” extent.

                                   With the exception of the contracting cost problem, there were very few
                                   differences in the respondents’ views of the operational problems within
                                   the recruitment and retention categories across the problems or between
                                   the most intense responses. For example, all of the six major retention
                                   problems were seen by the respondents as a problem to “some extent”
                                   or more within a lo-point range-from 81.7 to 91.1 percent. The “great
                                   extent” or “very great extent” responses varied even less-from 61.3
                                   percent to 56.6 percent. Neither were there substantial and consistent




                                   Page 59                                                       GAO/GGD-BB-117
                                                                                                              Inadequate Federal Pay



                                                                     ,f
                         chapter 8
                         Respondents Perceptions of the Effects of
                         Recruitment and Retention Difficulties




                         differences between the cost/pay groupings or occupational categories
                         on the prevalence of these effects (again with the exception of increased
                         contractor costs).

                         Despite the apparent pervasiveness and perceived intensity of these
                         operational problems, the respondents said neither they nor their agen-
                         cies systematically collected or maintained documentation of their
                         effects. As officials in Atlanta said, they never had a need for such data
                         so they never collected it. Other respondents said they were too busy
                         trying to do their work to document why they could not do the work.
                         Most of the evidence of operational effects that we &&ted       was there-
                         fore drawn from respondents’ recollections. In some cases, agency spe-
                         cial pay rate requests provided documentation of the respondents’
                         statements. We did not verify the respondents’ recollections or the docu-
                         ments they provided.

                         Three of the operational problems listed in the questionnaire-reduced
Many Respondents         service delivery, reduced productivity, and upper-level people doing
Noted Reductions in      lower-level work-are essentially variations on a single theme: reduc-
Service Delivery and     tion in the agency’s ability to carry out its mission effectively and
                         efficiently.
Productivity From
Recruitment and          About 85 percent of the respondents with retention problems in the
                         targeted occupations sai.d those problems had caused reduced service
Retention Problems       delivery, reduced produ.ctivity, and upper-level people to do lower-level
                         work. Over 90 percent of respondents with recruitment problems said
                         those difficulties had caused all three operational effects. Most of the
                         time respondents said that the operational problems had occurred to a
                         “great” or “very great” extent.

                         Agency officials we interviewed after they completed the questionnaire
                         cited numerous examples of reduced service delivery, productivity
                         losses, and upper-level staff doing lower-level work caused by recruit-
                         ment and retention problems.

                       . According to a 1988 special rate request for IRSin New York, the agency
                         had been unable to retain working-level attorneys. An IRSofficial said
                         that when their attorneys resign, the caseload is turned over to another
                         attorney who is usually unfamiliar with the work. As a result, he said,
                         the case may be mishandled. The special rate request also noted that it
                         takes a minimum of 3 to 4 years experience to learn to make quality
                         examinations of estate tax returns. However, the request indicated that
                         36 of the 57 estate tax attorneys in the District had less than 3 years


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    ,
,           Chapter 3
            Respondents’Perceptiona of the Effects of
            Recruitment and Retention Difficulties




          experience. The request noted that “. . . returns that are being prepared
          by the most sophisticated tax practitioners and corporate fiduciaries in
          the nation are being examined by our mostly inexperienced staff. They
          will miss issues with significant potential tax yield.”
        . Similarly, a respondent for IRSin Dallas said he believed the government
          had lost tax revenue because the heavy attorney workload meant bank-
          ruptcy cases were not pursued.
        l An IRSofficial in New York said upper-level attorneys often worked on
          relatively simple cases left behind by attorneys who quit. The official
          said these upper-level attorneys become disgruntled because they feel
          overqualified to handle such cases.
        . An EPA official in Chicago said turnover among environmental engineers
          reduced service delivery to a “very great extent” because it created a
          lack of continuity on complicated, long-term projects. Such turnover was
          also said to be very disruptive in meeting critical milestones on those
          projects. Similarly, an official in the Naval Facilities Engineering Com-
          mand in Philadelphia said high turnover and the prevalence of new
          employees on hazardous waste disposal projects often resulted in missed
          production deadlines or putting projects on hold indefinitely.
        l The EPA human resource manager in New York told us that, although
          services were being provided, it took longer to provide them due to envi-
          ronmental engineer recruitment and retention problems. He also said the
          number and quality of facility inspections and the number of environ-
          mental permits granted decreased.
        l According to Department of Labor officials in New York, industrial
          hygienist recruiting difficulties caused a substantial case backlog and a
          reduction in the quality of their work. As a result, complaints had been
          answered informally, and no inspections had been done to detect unre-
          ported violations in industries with high numbers of violations in the
          past. The OSHAregional administrator said their recruitment and reten-
          tion problem had directly affected their ability to fulfill the agency’s
          mission effectively and efficiently. He said the Queens and Manhattan
          Area Offices were far behind their program goals at the time of our
          review because of severe staff shortages.
        l An OSHAofficial in Chicago said turnover among industrial hygienists
          had reduced service delivery because the agency was required to
          respond to specific complaints before doing inspections targeted to
          industries with high numbers of past violations. The official said few
          targeted inspections were done because of the complaint workload. OSHA
          inspections were therefore merely reactive and were not able to prevent




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chapter 8
lbpondents Perceptions of the Ef%cte of
Recruitment and Retention Dif’flcultiea




problems from developing. The official also said that reduced produc-
tivity occurred because an experienced hygienist was required to accom-
pany recently hired hygienists on plant visits, meaning that two people
were doing a job that one trained person could have done alone.
An OSHArespondent in Dallas also said she believed that industrial
hygienists were conducting fewer health inspections as a result of reten-
tion problems.
VAMCpharmacy service chiefs in New York said that pharmacist staffing
shortages and turnover had resulted in reduced timeliness of services to
veterans (3-hour waits at certain outpatient prescription windows, 2-
day delays in filling prescriptions, and severe backlogs in the prescrip-
tion mail-out program-sometimes        resulting in double prescription
refills). Staffing shortages and turnover had also affected inpatient
activities, with patients frequently receiving their medications late. A
January 1989 special pay request noted that staffing shortages caused
charting and follow-up care of veterans to be “grossly affected.”
The respondent for the pharmacist occupation at the Leavenworth VA
told us they had suffered reduced service delivery to a “great extent”
because of not being able to fill orders on a timely basis, resulting in a
backlog of work and increased patient complaints. A 1988 pharmacist
special rate application at that facility indicated the pharmacist staffing
problem had forced the hospital to only partially implement a medica-
tion program in its psychiatric building, leading to less timely and effec-
tive inpatient services. A 1989 special rate application at the same
hospital noted that the pharmacy staffing problem had negatively
affected the outpatient program, increasing the time outpatients had to
wait for prescriptions and preventing pharmacists from counseling
patients on proper use of medications.
The pharmacy chief at the St. Louis VAMCsaid that retention problems
resulted in lowered quality review and accuracy oversight, a backlog of
work, delays in providing services, and complaints from patients. The
overall result was, according to the pharmacy chief, a heightened risk of
increased errors and substandard care being provided to the veterans.
The Bronx and Brooklyn VAMCchiefs of pharmacy said that supervisory
pharmacists often had to help in distributing prescriptions, which pre-
cluded them from doing their own work such as projecting and ordering
needed supplies. The Bronx chief estimated that upper-level pharma-
cists spent 30 to 90 percent of their time doing lower-level work.
The assistant chief of pharmacy at the VAMC in Atlanta said new phar-
macists make two to four times as many errors as more experienced
pharmacists, Since someone initially must work with the new pharma-
cist, two people are essentially doing one job.



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    Chapter 8
    Respondents’Perceptions of the Effecta of
    Recrhment and Retention Difficulties




l   The chief pharmacist at the Hines VAMCin Chicago said part of the phar-
    macy service’s function is to provide clients with cost-saving alterna-
    tives on prescriptions; however, as a result of recruitment and retention-
    related staff shortages, they have not been able to offer those services.
    He said this situation has led to increased drug costs for patients. A San
    Francisco   VAMC official said that because of pharmacist losses at the
    Medical Center, the pharmacists who remained could no longer review
    doctors’ prescriptions to identify less costly medicines or monitor the
    accuracy of the drugs prescribed.
.   The Chicago IRS reported in a 1987 clerical special rate request that,
    because of the lack of qualified candidates, it had often hired “any
    warm body” just to get some work done. As a result, the request said,
    documents had been improperly typed and tasks improperly performed,
    ultimately costing the taxpayers money and damaging the efficiency
    and quality of IRSwork.
.   At the Leavenworth VAMC,a respondent for the medical clerk occupation
    said that they have experienced numerous problems, including incorrect
    patient records and billings (which leads to non-reimbursement of the
    government for patient care expenses) and services not being provided
    or being provided improperly. The respondent told us that medical clerk
    turnover led to lost and incomplete medical records, which in turn had
    resulted in delayed treatment for patients and had affected the quality
    of patient care provided. A medical clerk respondent at the Kansas City
    VAMCalso said their use of inexperienced medical clerks had affected
    patient care. Assigning an experienced clerk to work with an inexperi-
    enced one has helped, she said, but this procedure also reduces patient
    care.
.   Two VA personnel specialists in Atlanta told us that two patient wards at
    the medical center were closed because of professional and nursing occu-
    pation staffing shortages caused by recruitment and retention difficul-
    ties. They also said that, because of the staffing shortages, doctors and
    nurses had to perform administrative tasks (e.g. answering telephones
    and copying documents) and as a result were handling fewer patients.
l   The chief of the staffing section at the Boston   VAMC said high turnover,
    vacant positions, and poor quality hires in clerical positions at the med-
    ical center contributed to lowered service delivery. Patients had to wait
    longer for admission and lab services and their charts just met minimum
    requirements.
.   Officials at the Customs Service and IRS in New York said upper-level
    personnel were typing their own work due to the lack of clerical support
    staff.
.   A 1987 Boston area special rate application noted that the shortage of
    licensed practical nurses contributed to more patient incidents, such as


    Page 63                                     GAO/GGD99-117Inadequate Federal Pay
    cbptira
    RespondentstPemeptlona of the EXfetd oi
    ltecruhent uul Retention DUXlculUm




    falls and medication errors. At the Bedford (Massachusetts) VA hospital,
    a 1988 special rate application for practical nurses noted that “[tlhe
    inability to recruit and retain sufficient LPN staff contributes to
    increased patient/staff ratios, which has led to perceived unsafe patient
    care.”
l   Officials at the Los Angeles VAMCtold us that several wards had been
    closed since 1984 because VA nurses left for better paying positions. At
    the time of our review, a total of 66 nurses were needed to open the 160
    beds closed in those wards. Officials at the VAMCsaid they were begin-
    ning to question how the center would continue to provide care for its
    remaining patients with the increasing shortage of nurses.
.   A 1987 special salary rate request for registered nurses in New York
    stated that the prolonged inability to hire registered nurses had seri-
    ously deterred specific programs. As of October 1987, the Manhattan
    VAMCwas unable to utilize the full 16 beds authorized in the Surgical
    Intensive Care Unit because of the nursing shortage, thereby frustrating
    plans to increase the number of open heart procedures performed. Also,
    at the time of our review, the Manhattan VAMChad not opened the AIDS
    unit that was scheduled to open in November 1987 because of an
    inability to recruit additional nurses approved in June 1987.
l   At the Bronx VA, the nurse recruiter said that because of understaffing
    they had to reduce patients’ baths from every day to every other day.
    The recruiter also said that, since much of the recovery instruction was
    given during baths, the quality of care had been affected.
l   According to a respondent for nurses at the Kansas City VAMC,a
    shortage of registered nurses at the medical center forced the closure of
    an entire ward, hiring less qualified practical nurses, and contracting
    out for registered nurses on a fee basis (in which the facility may pay up
    to twice the hourly cost of a VA registered nurse). She said closure of the
    ward resulted in the loss of up to 30 beds being available for veterans.
.   The two St. Louis VAMCShad between 60 and 80 nursing vacancies at the
    time of our review. As a result, they received the lowest rating possible
    for patient care on a recent certification inspection.
.   The VAMCpersonnel officer in Philadelphia said that the VA could only
    partially open a 240-bed nursing home care unit due to the shortage of
    registered nurses (caused by uncompetitive salaries). As of June 4,
     1000, only 20 of the 240 beds had been opened even though the facilities
    were ready for occupancy.
9   The police chief at the St. Louis VA said there had been an increase in
    crime in outlying parking lots at the midtown VA, and the VA could not
    provide security for employees to get to their cars.




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                                chapter 8
                                lbpondentr’ Perceptions of the EfYectaof
                                Recruitment and Retention Dlfflculties




                            l   Officials at VA hospitals in Chicago said they had seen an increase in the
                                incidence of theft, crimes against persons, and associated incidents
                                resulting from fewer patrols.


                                Other frequently mentioned effects of recruitment and retention diffi-
RespondentsNoted                culties were increased training; recruiting; overtime; and, to a lesser
Increased Training,             extent, contractor costs.
Recruiting, Overtime,
and Contractor Costs
Caused by
Recruitment and
Retention Problems

Training Costs                  Over 91 percent of the questionnaire respondents said retention difficul-
                                ties caused increased training costs to at least some extent, with over 66
                                percent of the respondents saying the problem was present to a “great”
                                or “very great” extent. On the recruitment side, nearly 85 percent of the
                                respondents said they were experiencing increased recruitment-related
                                training costs, with over 46 percent saying increased training costs were
                                present to a “great” or “very great” extent.

                                In the follow-up interviews, the respondents cited a number of examples
                                of increased training costs from recruitment and retention difficulties.

                        . According to the IRS special rate request for attorneys in New York, the
                          District had hired 41 new attorneys in the 2 years prior to our review,
                          each of whom was required to take 10 weeks of formal classroom
                          training. Senior attorneys primarily gave this training, which pulled
                          them away from working cases and reduced their caseload. This reduced
                          potential revenues significantly because the senior attorneys work the
                          largest, most complex cases with the highest revenue yield.
                        l IRS officials in Atlanta estimated that excessive clerical staff turnover in
                          1 year cost the agency $414,666 in training costs. In a 1989 clerical spe-
                          cial rate request, IRS officials estimated savings of almost $172,000 in
                          advertising, training, and personnel processing costs if higher salaries
                          could be paid in the Atlanta area.
                        . At the Boston VAMC,the chief of the staffing section said the quality of
                          recently hired clerk typists was lower than it was 3 years prior to our



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                     Chapter 3
                     Respondents’Perceptiona of the EfYectaof
                     Recruitment and Retention Llifflculties




                     review. She said applicants for clerk typist positions cannot spell, punc-
                     tuate, or set up a letter. As a result, the VAMCmust spend time teaching
                     basic office skills. Associated training costs included the time of the
                     trainer, the cost of services lost, and overtime to cover the lost services.
                     She also said the poor quality meant that recent recruits could not do as
                     much in a normal day as a good clerk typist could in prior years, so
                     overtime costs were also incurred to make up the loss in productivity.

                     Several respondents noted that training costs associated with recruiting
                     and retention problems were essentially wasted because many of those
                     who received the training often left. For example, the chiefs of phar-
                     macy services at the Bronx and Brooklyn VAMCSsaid supervisory phar-
                     macists spent much time reviewing, directing, and teaching new
                     pharmacists who later transferred to the private sector. (They noted
                     that the pharmacists who provided the training often fell behind in their
                     work, resulting in backlogs and morale problems, which in turn caused
                     even more turnover.) Similar experiences of employees receiving expen-
                     sive training and then leaving the government were cited in regards to
                     nurses at the VAMCSin New York and for clerk typists at the Customs
                     Service in New York.


Recruiting Costs     Overall, 86 to 88 percent of the questionnaire respondents reported that
                     retention and recruitment problems had caused recruiting costs to
                     increase. Previous studies also indicated that extra recruiting and
                     training costs are associated with employee turnover. For example, the
                     March 1989 Boston Federal Executive Board report estimated that the
                     overall excess costs of recruiting, hiring, and training in the Boston area
                     during fiscal year 1988 were $270,704 for the Army Corps of Engineers,
                     $998,779 for Fort Devens Army Base, $360,466 for the National Guard,
                     $219,606 for the Environmental Protection Agency, $323,999 for the
                     Bedford VA Hospital, and $2,000,869 for the Boston VAMC.

                     Our questionnaire respondents also provided examples of increased
                     recruiting and training costs because of recruitment and/or retention
                     difficulties.

                   9 Respondents at the Army Corps of Engineers in Waltham, Massachu-
                     setts, said the Corps experienced such a crisis in recruiting for clerical
                     positions in 1987 that it decided to recruit in Tulsa, Oklahoma, where
                     the unemployment rate was high. Three agency officials went to Tulsa
                     to interview 60 applicants, of whom 14 were hired at the GS-4 and GS-6



                     Page 00                                    GAO/GGD-9@117
                                                                            Inadequate Federal Pay
                         Chapter 3
                         Respondenta’Perceptions of the Effects of
                         Recruitment and detention Dlfflculties




                         levels. The Corps spent about $4,000 each to move the new hires to
                         Waltham.
                     l   Officials at the Manhattan VAMCtold us their advertising budget for
                         nurses had doubled since 1986.

                         As was the case for increased training costs, agency officials reported
                         increased recruiting costs associated with the poorer quality of appli-
                         cants they were attracting.

                 l       HI%3personnel officials said they must test many applicants in order to
                         find qualified employees. On one occasion, they said they tested nine
                         applicants for a clerk-typist position and only one passed the test, even
                         though they had all self-certified their typing abilities. In another
                         instance, only 2 of 18 available applicants passed the test.
                     l   The personnel staffing specialist at the Allen Park VA hospital in Detroit
                         said that, although they get plenty of applicants for clerical positions,
                         the low quality of the applicant pool made the qualified pool very
                         small-perhaps     10 percent of the total pool. The specialist said consid-
                         erable time and money were invested in recruiting, but the return in
                         terms of hiring and retention was very low.


Overtime Costs           Over 80 percent of the respondents said recruitment and/or retention
                         difficulties had caused increased use of overtime pay. The following
                         examples were cited by interviewees as examples of increases in over-
                         time pay.

                 l In a 1987 special salary request for data transcribers, the Atlanta office
                   of IRSestimated that excessive turnover between July 1986 and July
                    1987 had cost the agency approximately $273,868 in overtime costs.
                 l According to officials at the Hines VAMCin Chicago, overtime to make up
                   for the 40 police officers who quit in 1986 cost the agency $320,000.
                 9 Personnel officials at Hines VAMC said high turnover resulted in nurses
                   being taken away from patient care to train and orient new nurses. This
                   resulted in overtime and nurses working double shifts. The officials said
                   that overtime pay at Hines regularly exceeded the budget by $30,000 to
                   $40,000 a year.
                 l Overtime costs for clerical/technical jobs at IRS in New York had consist-
                   ently increased because of understaffing, growing by over $600,000
                   between fiscal years 1986 and 1987. IRS officials said they expected
                   overtime costs to increase even more in the future.
                 l According to        officials in Los Angeles, the
                                         VAMC                             incurred overtime
                                                                           VAMC


                   costs in 1989 of approximately $166,000 for pharmacists and about


                         Page 07                                     GAO/GGD-90-117Inadequate Federal Pay
                       Chapter 3
                       Respondents’Perceptions of the Eficectaof
                       Recruitment and Retention Difficulties




                     $62,000 for police officers be&use of recruitment and retention
                     problems. The shortage of nurses at the VAMCin Los Angeles resulted in
                     overtime costs in 1989 (excluding October through December) of
                     $369,929.
                   . According to the associate chief of nursing, the St. Louis VAMCspent
                     $286,986 for registered and practical nurse overtime during fiscal year
                     1989 (which officials said would have allowed the hospital to hire 11
                     registered nurses or 17 practical nurses). In the first quarter of fiscal
                     1990, the hospital had already spent $102,686 on overtime in these
                     occupations.
                   l Respondents at the Kansas City VAMCsaid the medical center spent
                     $289,336 for registered nurse overtime between April 1, 1988, and
                     March 31, 1989. At the Leavenworth VAMC,the respondents said regis-
                     tered and practical nurse overtime caused by recruitment and retention
                     difficulties cost $114,343 during fiscal year 1989.


Contractor Costs       Hiring outside contractors was reported least frequently of all the pos-
                       sible operational effects listed (about 20 percent of the respondents for
                       both the recruitment and retention questions). There appeared to be a
                       difference in the prevalence of contracting costs across the occupational
                       categories. Contracting costs due to recruitment difficulties were most
                       frequently reported by respondents for nursing occupations (37.3 per-
                       cent of respondents) and least frequently by respondents for the police
                       occupation (10.0 percent of respondents).

                       Some examples of increased contracting costs cited by the respondents
                       include the following:

                   9 A Kansas City VA registered nurse special rate application noted that
                     from April 1, 1988, to March 31, 1989, the hospital spent $103,636 con-
                     tracting for registered nurses.
                   l An official at the St. Louis VAMCreported that the medical center had
                     spent $360,668 contracting for nurses in fiscal year 1989, and had
                     already spent $183,408 on such contracting in the first quarter of fiscal
                     1990.

                       Although agencies reported these contracting costs, we did not deter-
                       mine the extent to which those costs were greater than (or less than) the
                       cost of hiring regular employees.




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Chapter 4 _

Summq and Conclusions


                       This report focuses on what agency officials believed to be the causes
                       and effects of federal recruitment and retention problems in selected
                       occupations within selected areas and agencies. It concentrates on 11
                       occupations within 16 metropolitan areas across 8 major agencies and
                       dozens of subagencies. It does not, however, cover all federal white-
                       collar occupations, metropolitan areas, or federal agncies; therefore,
                      the results cannot be directly extrapolated to the government as a whole
                       or the many localities where federal employees work. Also, the discus-
                       sion of the causes of recruitment and retention problems is based on the
                      perceptions of agency personnel officials and line managers, not on the
                      perceptions of employees who actually left or applicants who declined
                      job offers.

                      Nevertheless, the results of this study are consistent with previous
                      studies of federal recruitment and retention. For example, a May 1990
                      MSPBgovernmentwide survey of employees who resigned from the fed-
                      eral government found that “compensation and advancement” was the
                      most frequently mentioned reason for their resignations. Also, several of
                      the FEBstudies have noted the same types of operational effects caused
                      by recruitment and retention problems as we found in this review. We
                      therefore believe that the results of this review, in conjunction with pre-
                      vious studies, permit certain conclusions to be drawn that are, if not
                      directly applicable, at least instructive with regard to the rest of the
                      workforce.


                      The questionnaire respondents indicated that many different factors
Many Factors Affect   affect federal recruitment and retention; chapter 2 of this report dis-
Federal Recruitment   cussed each of those factors individually. Figures 4.1 and 4.2 summarize
and Retention         the employment conditions that the respondents said affect recruitment
                      and retention in the selected occupations, areas, and agencies. Some of
                      the conditions were believed to have primarily negative effects on
                      recruitment and retention (i.e., encourage a person to leave or decline
                      federal employment); other factors were believed to be primarily posi-
                      tive inducements (i.e., encourage a person to stay in or accept federal
                      employment); still others were said to have a mixture of both effects.




                      Page 69                                   GAO/GGIMW117Inadequate Federal Pay
                                        Chapter 4
                                        Sununary and Conclwiona




Figure 4.1: Respondents Said Pay, Job
A&lability, and Job Security W&e        Percent of respondents
Prlmary Reasons to Stay in or Leave     80
Federal Employment
                                        70

                                        60

                                        50

                                        40

                                        30

                                        20

                                        10

                                         0




                                             Factom Influencing retention


                                              1         Reason tc Leave
                                                        Reason tc Stay




                                        Page 70                             GAO/GGJMO-117Inadequate Federal Pay
                                        Chapter 4
                                        Summary and Conclusiona




Figure 4.2: Respondents Said Pay, Job
Availabllity, and Job Security Were
                                        00       Percent of respondenta
Primary Rearono to Accept or Decline
Federdl Employment                      80
                                             -


                                        80




                                             Factor6 influencing recruitment


                                                 L      1
                                                            Reason to Decline
                                                            Reason to Accept



                                        Written comments the respondents provided on the questionnaires made
                                        it clear that the factors often have a combined effect. The respondents
                                        also indicated that immediate action was necessary to alleviate the
                                        recruitment and retention problems they faced. For example, a respon-
                                        dent for the pharmacist occupation in New York wrote the following:

                                        “The inability to hire and retain quality pharmacists is hampering pharmacy service
                                        from giving cost effective, quality of care service to our veterans. Pharmacy is
                                        unable to do clinical programs due to (the) lack of expertise in its staff. Our lack of
                                        tuition reimbursement for C.E. (continuing education) credits; health insurance (is)
                                        not paid by employer; pay (is) not equal to private sector, even in special rates; the
                                        pay (dis)parity between staff, supervisors, and assistant and chief of pharmacy is
                                        not being maintained. Dietitians are required to cover approximately 100 patients.
                                        Pharmacists are required to cover 160 to 200 patients. (The) private sector expects




                                        Page 71                                         GAO/GGMO-117 Inadequate Federal Pay
                                                                                               .
                       Chapter 4
                       Summary and Conclusions




                       160 prescriptions per day; we require 240 to 360 prescriptions per day. (The) pri-
                       vate sector starts pharmacists in hospitals (with) 4 weeks vacation; we start (with)
                       2 weeks. This could go on and on. Nothing has been done, nothing is being done. The
                       time may be here that we cannot get pharmacists; the damagesare that great. A
                       very comprehensive, exacting program needsto be set now; not 6 months, not a
                       year, now.”

                       Although a variety of factors appear important to federal recruitment
Pay Reform Needed to   and retention, certain factors are more important than others. Federal
Address Recruitment    pay and the availability of nonfederal jobs were almost universally con-
and Retention          sidered to be the most important reasons to leave and to decline federal
                       employment. Federal job security, reportedly the most important reason
Problems               for staying in or accepting federal jobs, was viewed almost exclusively
                       by the respondents as a stay/accept factor. All the other factors were
                       regarded as having, at least to some extent, a mixed effect on recruit-
                       ment or retention decisions.

                       These three primary factors-federal        pay, nonfederal job availability,
                        and federal job security-appear     to interrelate in recruitment and reten-
                       tion decisions. The data suggest that because nonfederal pay is substan-
                       tially higher than federal pay, applicants’ and employees’ perceptions of
                       the importance of federal job security is diminished when nonfederal
                       jobs are plentiful. Where these conditions exist, current employees are
                       more likely to leave, and prospective employees are more likely to
                        decline federal job offers. As a respondent for the clerk typist occupa-
                       tion in Los Angeles said,

                       “As long as salary and benefits are greater and available in the private sector, and
                       the forecast for a corrective change is not evident, quality applicants will continue
                       to avoid federal employment. Whatever incentives that may have been available in
                       the past to federal employees (such asjob security, reasonably priced health and
                       life insurance benefits, and cost of living adjustments that at least kept pace with
                       the increased cost of benefits) have gone. The end result is we have becomethe
                       employer of last resort for those employees who have been picked over and rejected
                       by the private sector employer.”

                       On the other hand, where fewer nonfederal jobs are available, federal
                       job security becomes more important, and the pay disparity is devalued.
                        Under these conditions, federal employees are more likely to stay, and
                       prospective employees are more likely to be attracted to the federal
                        government.

                       Of the two factors that appear to be uniformly and negatively affecting
                       federal recruitment and retention-federal    pay and the availability of



                       Page 72                                        GAO/GGlHO-117Inadequate Federal Pay
Chapter 4
Summary and Conclusions




nonfederal jobs-only federal pay is directly under the control of fed-
eral policymakers. Efforts to address recruitment and retention difficul-
ties in these (and perhaps other) occupations, areas, and agencies should
therefore be focused first on the pay issue.

The importance of federal pay to recruitment and retention was,
according to the respondents, both direct and indirect. Some respon-
dents said federal pay levels directly prevented them from filling budg-
eted positions or from keeping employees from leaving to accept more
lucrative offers. In other cases, pay had a more subtle effect on recruit-
ment and retention. For example, the respondents repeatedly said that
employees use federal training opportunities-generally     seen as a ben-
efit of federal employment- as a means of qualifying for higher-paying
nonfederal jobs.

Furthermore, federal pay also helps to explain why federal career
advancement opportunities, while viewed as a reason to join the federal
government, were also viewed as a significant reason to leave. In those
federal jobs where opportunities for advancement beyond the jour-
neyman level are limited (e.g., attorneys and police), employees who are
dissatisfied with their pay reportedly leave for equivalent but better
paying nonfederal positions. The responses suggest that if the federal/
nonfederal pay disparity were eliminated, training and career advance-
ment might properly be featured as virtues of federal employment.

The widespread perception of the importance of pay to recruitment and
retention difficulties suggests that overall pay reform is needed to
address the problems reported in the occupations, areas, and agencies
we reviewed. Federal pay was regarded as an important reason to leave
by respondents in many areas of the country for all occupational
categories.

Moreover, variations in the perceived importance of pay by geographic
area suggest that locality-based adjustments in the current uniform fed-
eral pay system are also needed. Agencies in the highest cost/pay areas
were clearly experiencing more serious recruiting and retention difficul-
ties than agencies in lower cost/pay areas.

In making locality pay adjustments, the data suggest that factors other
than the absolute federal/nonfederal pay differential in an area should
be considered if federal recruitment and retention difficulties are to be
addressed in the most efficient manner. For example, areas where
nonfederal employment is plentiful will likely have greater recruitment


Page 73                                   GAO/GGD-90-117Inadequate Federal Pay
                        chapter 4
                        Summary and Conclusion




                        and retention difficulties than other areas with the same federal/
                        nonfederal pay differential but relatively scarce nonfederal job
                        opportunities.

                        The questionnaire results also indicate that pay reform alone may not be
                        sufficient to improve recruitment and retention in all occupations. For
                        example, while low pay rates for nurses reportedly contributed to the
                        occupation’s recruitment and retention problems, the respondents
                        regarded understaffing as an even more important cause. Thus, staffing
                        reform (i.e., more employees to handle the workload) may also be neces-
                        sary to address nursing shortages in federal facilities.


                        The information provided by the respondents clearly indicated that they
Recruitment and         viewed federal recruitment and retention difficulties in the selected
Retention Problems      occupations as real and aa having an adverse effect on federal agency
Are Adversely           operations. They believed that service delivery and agency productivity
                        had been reduced and a variety of hidden costs associated with recruit-
Affecting Service       ment and retention problems had been incurred. The problems were
Delivery and            reported in virtually every location and occupation.
Needlessly Increasing   We believe our findings, while limited in their immediate scope and
Agency Costs            applicability, suggest a much larger problem with ominous implications
                        for the American public. If the recruitment and retention difficulties the
                        officials reported continue to worsen, it seems reasonable to assume that
                        service delivery and productivity would further decline, and unneces-
                        sary costs would continue to increase. It also seems reasonable to
                        assume that in such an environment there would be more instances of
                        taxes not being collected because of the lack of experienced attorneys
                        and examiners; of environmental and industrial safety hazards not being
                        investigated or addressed before problems occur because the staff
                        trained by federal agencies were hired away by private companies; and
                        of VA hospitals being forced to provide suboptimal care to patients
                        because qualified staff are lacking. In sum, needed public services would
                        continue to be delivered less and less effectively and efficiently.

                        Although the cost of pay reform will be at least partially offset by the
                        elimination of hidden costs associated with recruitment and retention
                        difficulties, pay reform will be expensive. But we believe that expense is
                        preferable to allowing the further deterioration of government services.
                        By helping to remedy these conditions, we believe pay reform will pro-
                        vide benefits not only to the federal workforce but to the public which
                        that workforce serves.


                        Page 74                                  GAO/GGLMWl17Inadequate Federal Pay
Page 76   GAO/GGD-90417Inadequate Federal Pay
                                                                                                                              r

Appendix I                                                                                                  I

Objectives,Scope,and Methodology                                                                                     ’


                        The objectives of this study were to determine agency officials’ views of
                        the causes and effects of retention and recruitment difficulties in
                        seiected occupations, areas, and agencies in the federal government. To
                        accomplish these objectives, we first selected the occupations, areas, and
                        agencies that served as the focus of the study. We then administered
                        questionnaires to agency officials and conducted follow up interviews
                        with those officials.


                        We obtained federal workforce data from OPM’S Central Personnel Data
Selection of            File (CPDF) on all full-time permanent white-collar employees in the fed-
Occupations to Be       eral government as of December 31,1986. This data set covered
Included in the Study   1,420,446 employees in a total of 436 occupational series; most were in
                        the General Schedule (GS) (1,238,203 employees) or the General Merit
                        (GM) (12 1,674 employees) pay systems.

                        We then identified 213 occupations with at least 1,000 federal
                        employees and calculated quit rates for each of the occupations for the
                        S-year period ending December 31, 1988.’ The average quit rate across
                        all the occupations was 6.2 percent for the 2 years. We decided that an
                        occupation had a “high” quit rate if its quit rate was at least 60 percent
                        above this 6.2 percent average-that is, 9.3 percent or higher.

                        We initially identified 30 “high quit rate” occupations, (See table I. 1.)
                        From this list we identified the occupations used in our study in the fol-
                        lowing manner. First, we eliminated the three trainee positions in which
                        high quit rates could be expected. Second, we selected occupations that
                        were generally representative of the career fields in which the high quit
                        rate occupations were located (security, clerical/technical, health, and
                        other professional). For example, about half of the permanent occupa-
                        tions with high quit rates came from the health profession; 4 of the 11
                        occupations we selected were health care occupations (nurse, practical
                        nurse, pharmacist, and medical clerk).

                        In choosing particular occupations within fields, we generally chose
                        those with higher quit rates and larger numbers of employees. There-
                        fore, in choosing between two security occupations, police and guard, we

                        ‘Quit,” asusedin this study, appliesonly to employeeswho voluntarily resignedfrom their govern-
                        mentjobs. It doesnot include any of severalother possibleforms of employeeseparation,including
                        retirement,transfers to other federal agencies,deaths,or dismissals.Quit rates were calculatedbased
                        on thoseemployeeson boardasof December31,1986,for the 2-yearperiod endingDecember31,
                        1988.Thus, the quit ratesdo not include employeeswho enteredthe governmentafter December31,
                        1986,but left prior to December31,1988.



                        Page 76                                                GAO/GGINO-117Inadequate Federal Pay
                                      Appendix I
                                      Objectives, Scope,and Methodology




                                      picked police because it had both a higher quit rate and a higher number
                                      of job incumbents. We selected three of the four “other professional”
                                      occupations (industrial hygienist, environmental engineer, and general
                                       attorney) that were not grouped under any of the other three permanent
                                      job categories. We excluded the fourth occupation, patent examiner,
                                      because all the employees were located in Washington, DC; there was no
                                       geographic dispersion to allow our analysis of locality variations.

                                      We ultimately chose to focus our review on the following 11 occupa-
                                      tions: pharmacist, industrial hygienist, environmental engineer, general
                                      attorney, clerk typist, data transcriber, tax examiner, medical clerk, reg-
                                      istered nurse, practical nurse, and police.
Table 1.1: Selection of Occupations
Baaed Upon Quit Rate, Number of                                                                     Number of
Employees, and Occupational Field     Occupational field/            Occup;t,o;    Average quit     em ioyees Selected for
                                      occupation                                           rate      (I &31,88)      study
                                      Security
                                      --
                                        Police                              0063             9.84        6.502                 Y
                                        Guard                               0085             9.58        5,608                 N

                                      Clerical/technical
                                        File Clerk                          0305            10.44       18,841                 N
                                        Clerk-Stenographer                  0312            lo.81         3,488                N
                                        Clerk Typist                        0322            13.80       38,867                 Y
                                        Data Transcriber                    0356            23.50       I 2.258                Y
                                        Communications Relay
                                        Operator                            0390            20.99        1,510                 N
                                      - Tax Examiner
                                                  ____-                     0592            10.32       19,170             Y

                                      Health                                           --
                                         General Health Science             0601            10.91         1,650                N
                                         Physician Assistant                0603            16.41         1,091                N
                                         Nurse                              0610            15.21       36,250                 Y
                                      -- Practical  Nurse                   0620            17.69       I 2,078                Y
                                         Medical Supply-Aide &
                                         Tech.                              0622            10.25        2.019               N
                                         Dietitian & Nutritionist           0630            10.76        1,403               N
                                         Medical _____
                                                   Technologist             0644            11.33        4,917               N
                                         Medical Technician                 0645            10.33        1,927               ii
                                         Diagnostic Radiol. Tech.           0647            13.61        2,689               N
                                         Medical Machine Tech.              0649            10.24        I ,982              N
                                         Pharmacist                         0660            13.37        3,134               Y
                                         Pharmacv Technician                0661            12.93        2.335               N
                                                                                                                  (continued)



                                      Page 77                                         GAO/GGDQO-117Inadequate Federal Pay
                             Appendix I                                                                              L
                             Objectives, Scope,and Methodology




                                                                                              Number of
                             Occupational field/              Occupxt;;      Average quit     em lo 888 Selected for
                             occupation                                              rate      (I !,37,88,     study
                               Medical Record Technician              0675           10.85          2,350                N
                               Medical Clerk                          0679           12.94          9.660                Y
                               Dental Assistant                       0681           10.42          2,639                N

                             Other professional
                               Industrial Hvaienist                   0690           11.98          1.077                Y
                               Environmental Engineer                 0819            9.51          2,524                Y
                               General Attorney                       0905           11.70         13,766                Y
                               Patent Examiner                        1224           10.89          1,331                N

                             Trainee
                               General Student                        0099           16.72          1,986                N
                               Health Aid & Technician                0699           11.97          4,077                N
                               Student Trainee                        0899           13.69          3,003                N




Identification of the MSAs   Whereas the selection of the occupations used in the study was based on
                             their having high quit rates, selection of the MSAS used in the study was
                             based primarily on their having large numbers of employees in the
                             selected occupations. Using the CPDFdata base, we first identified all
                             MSAS with at least 1,000 federal white-collar employees as of December
                             31,1986. Of the more than 300 MSAS in the country, 163 met these cri-
                             teria. We then decided to focus on at least 10 percent, or 16, of these
                             MSAS with above average numbers of employees in the greatest number
                             of the selected occupations. All of the MSASwe selected had above
                             average numbers of employees for at least 7 of the 11 occupations we
                             surveyed.2

                             Using this method, we chose the following 16 MSAS:Atlanta, Baltimore,
                             Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Detroit, Kansas City, Los Angeles, New
                             York, Norfolk, Philadelphia, St. Louis, San Antonio, San Diego, and San
                             Francisco.




                             2Detroit,ranked 16th on our list of MSAswith aboveaveragenumbersof employeesin 7 of the 11
                             occupations,was selectedover 2 other MSAs,Honolulu and Cleveland,which alsohad aboveaverage
                             numbers in 7 of the 11occupations.WechoseDetroit and excludedthe other two MSAsbecause(1)
                             Detroit had moretotal federal employeesin the 11selectedoccupationsthan Cleveland(1,282versus
                             1,216respectively),and (2) Honolulu was outsidethe continental United Statesand alsohad fewer
                             employeesin the 11 occupationsthan Detroit (983 versus 1,282).



                             Page 78                                             GAO/GGD-90-117Inadequate FederaJPay
   .                        Appe.ndixI
                            Objectives, Scope,and Methodology




Selection of Agencies and   Like the selection of the MSAS, the selection of the agencies for the study
Subagencies                 was done on the basis of the number of employees in the identified high
                            quit rate occupations in the agencies rather than the agencies’ quit rates.
                            First, for each of the selectedoccupations in each Ms&we listed the
                            number of federal employees in each agency.3 Agencies selected for
                            analysis in an MS4 for an occupation had at least 10 percent of the occu-
                            pational total for that MSA. For example, for data transcribers in Los
                            Angeles, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) was selected for the
                            study because VA had 15.5 percent (26 out of 161) of the data trans-
                            cribers in the Los Angeles MSA. However, VA did not make the list for
                            data transcribers in the Chicago MSA because it employed fewer than 10
                            percent (9 out of 167) of the data transcribers in the Chicago MSA

                            Using this approach, an agency in a given MSA could have been selected
                            for anywhere from 1 to all 11 occupations. In an effort to cover the
                            largest number of employees and occupations possible with our avail-
                            able staff, we generally chose to contact those agencies that (1) had
                            higher percentages of employees in a given occupation within the MSA
                            and (2) made the list for more than one occupation within the MSA.

                            Eight different major agencies were selected for the study: the Environ-
                            mental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Departments of the Air Force,
                            Army, Health and Human Services (HHS), Labor, Navy, Treasury, and
                            Veterans Affairs.

                            The unit of analysis in this study was the personnel office responsible
                            for the occupation within the agency and the MSA.In most instances, the
                            relevant personnel office was not at the major agency level (e.g., the
                            Department of the Army) but at the subagency level (e.g., Army Health
                            Services Command). Therefore, we used the CPDFdata base to identify
                            subagencies within the selected occupations, M&G, and agencies. (One
                            agency, EPA,did not have subunits in the CPDFdata base, so our analysis
                            for EPAwas done at the agency level.) In deciding which subagencies to
                            survey, we only included subagencies with at least 10 employees in an
                            MSAfor an occupation. We also picked enough subagency locations in an
                            MSAand occupation to cover at least half of the employees in the major
                            agency. The subagencies and agencies selected for analysis within each
                            MSA are shown in appendix III.



                            3Theuniverseof agencieswas identified using the two-digit codefor “major agency”in the CPDF
                            data base.Thus, for example,the Departmentof the Treasury was listed but not the Internal Revenue
                            Service.



                            Page 79                                              GAO/GGD-90417Inadequate Federal Pay
                                                                                                          ,
                          Appendix I                                                                              .
                          Objectives, Scope,and Methodology




                          In some cases, the two subagency selection criteria conflicted because
                          elimination of subagencies with fewer than 10 employees made it impos-
                          sible to cover at least half the employees in the major agency. For
                          example, the CPDFdata indicated that there were 40 data transcribers at
                          Army in the Baltimore MSA, which accounted for more than 10 percent
                          of all data transcribers in the Baltimore M&L However, the only sub-
                          agency with at least 10 data transcribers was the Army Test and Evalu-
                          ation Command, which had 14. Because we wanted to cover at least half
                          of an agency’s employees in a given occupation and M&I, we decided not
                          to include any data transcribers for Army in Baltimore. We decided to
                          exclude the general attorney occupation at Army in Baltimore and the
                          data transcriber occupation at Army and at Air Force in San Antonio for
                          the same reason.

                          There were other cases where agencies that had met the agency selec-
                          tion criteria for a given occupation and MSAwere eliminated because
                          none of the agency subunits had at least 10 employees. This occurred
                          with environmental engineers at Air Force in San Antonio and at Army
                          in Kansas City, and with industrial hygienists at Navy in both Los
                          Angeles and Philadelphia.

                          In most cases the personnel office at the subagency level was the lowest
                          level personnel unit in an agency within an MSA.However, in other cases
                          there was more than one personnel unit within a subagency. At the VA’S
                          Department of Medicine and Surgery, for example, the relevant per-
                          sonnel office for the selected occupations was usually at each hospital.4
                          In cases where there was more than one hospital within the MSA'S
                          Department of Medicine and Surgery, we generally surveyed each one.


SubagencySites Can Have   Although the 11 selected occupations in this study all had high national
High or Low Quit Rates    quit rates, some of the individual agencies and subagencies surveyed
                          had low quit rates in the occupations because the MSASand agencies/
                          subagencies were selected on the basis of the prevalence of employees
                          rather than their quit rates. Information from low quit rate areas and
                          agencies are as important as information from high quit rate areas and
                          agencies. While the high quit rate MsAs/agencies/subagencies can tell us
                          why people are quitting and what effect this is having on agency opera-
                          tions, the low quit rate sites can provide complementary information on

                          4TheDepartmentof Medicineand Surgeryis now known as the Departmentof VeteransHealth Ser-
                          vices and ResearchAdministration. During the 1987-88time period,though, it was known as the
                          Departmentof Medicineand Surgery.



                          Page 80                                            GAO/GGD90-117Inadequate Federal Pay
Appendix I
Objectivea, Scope,and Methodology




why some MsAs/agencies/subagencies are, on average, better able to
retain employees in a particular occupation than their counterparts else-
where in the country.

To accommodate both high and low quit rate sites, we developed sepa-
rate high and low quit rate questionnaires. The questionnaires were sim-
ilar in most respects, although some questions were asked only in high
quit rate sites. (See app. II for a copy of the high quit rate questionnaire
and to see the questions that were asked only in high quit rate sites,)
Similarly, certain questions were asked only in those sites reporting
recruiting problems.

The questions were developed based on issues raised in the relevant
literature. For example, the factors believed related to retention (ques-
tion 2) and recruitment (question 16) were drawn from studies of
recruitment and retention correlates. Since the studies noted that pay,
benefits, content of the work, physical environment, and other variables
could influence recruitment and retention, we asked the respondents to
note what they believed to be the effect of those factors on recruitment
and retention for the selected occupation in their agency and location.

A total of 271 questionnaires were completed by agency focal points. Of
these, 199 were completed for high quit rate occupations/agencies/
areas, and 72 were completed for low quit rate sites. A total of 199 ques-
tionnaires were completed for sites with recruiting problems, and 67
were completed for sites without recruiting problems.6

Table I,2 shows the distribution of the 271 questionnaires across the 16
MSASin this review.




sRespondentswere classifiedas having a “problem” recruiting if they reportedhaving trouble
recruiting to “someextent,” a “moderateextent,” a “great extent,” or a “very greatextent.” For five
of the questionnaires,no determinationof whether the respondentsdid or did not have a recruiting
problemcould be madebecausethe respondentssaid they did not know whether their agencieshad
trouble recruiting for the selectedoccupationin the areaand agency.



Page 81                                                 GAO/GGD96117 Inadequate Federal Pay
                                           Appendix I
                                           ObJectives,&ope, and Methodology




Table 1.2: Number of Oueetionnalrer   by
MSA                                        MSA                                                                 Number oi quertionnalrer
                                           Atlanta                                                                                        16
                                           Baltimore                                                                                      13
                                           Boston                                                                                         15
                                           Chicago                                                                                        26
                                           Dallas                                                                                         11
                                           Denver                                                                                         24
                                           Detroit                                                                                         8
                                           Kansas City                                                                                    19
                                           Los Angeles                                                                                    14
                                           New York                                                                                       37
                                           Norfolk                                                                                        15
                                           Philadelphia                                                                                   24
                                           St. Louis                                                                                      11
                                           San Antonio                                                                                    14
                                           San Diego                                                                                      16
                                           San Francisco                                                                                      8
                                           Total                                                                                        271


                                           To simplify our analysis, we grouped the 16 MSAsinto high, medium, or
                                           low “cost/pay” categories by using the simple average of a cost-of-living
                                           index and a “pay relative” index. The cost-of-living index relates the
                                           cost of living in an MSAto that of a median cost-of-living city; the pay
                                           relative index relates the average white-collar pay of an MSAto the
                                           national average white-collar pay.6 We grouped the MSAS into categories
                                           as follows: “high cost/pay MSAS” (New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles,
                                           Boston, and San Diego); “medium cost/pay MSAS” (Detroit, Chicago, Phil-
                                           adelphia, Baltimore, and Atlanta); and “low cost/pay MSAS"(Dallas,
                                           Denver, Kansas City, St. Louis, San Antonio, and Norfolk).

                                           Table I.3 shows the distribution of the questionnaires across the dif-
                                           ferent cost/pay groupings.




                     Y                     %he cost-of-livingindex was calculatedusing April 1989data from RunzheimerInternational for an
                                           averagefederal employee($30,000wageearner,family of four, 3-yearhomeowner).Pay relative
                                           data are from the Bureauof LaborStatisticsfor office clerical, technical,and professionalworkers
                                           during 1988.



                                           Page 82                                               GAO/GGBBO-117JnadequateFederal Pay
     .                                     Appendix I
                                           Objectives, Escape,
                                                            and Methodology




Table 1.3: Number of Questionnaire8 by
MSA Coat/Pay Groupings                     MSA grouping                                        Number of questionnaires
                                           High cost/pay                                                               90
                                           Medium cost/pay                                                             87
                                           Low cost/pay                                                                94
                                           iGal                                                                       271


                                           Table I.4 shows the distribution of the questionnaires across the 11
                                           occupations included in our survey.

Table 1.4: Number of Quertlonnairer   by
Occupation                                 Occupation                                          Number of questionnaires
                                           Clerk Typist                                                                72
                                           Data Transcriber                                                            22
                                           Environmental Engineer                                                      11
                                           General Attorney                                                            17
                                           Industrial t-lvaienist                                                      10
                                           Medical Clerk                                                               28
                                           Pharmacist                                                                  23
                                           Practical Nurse                                                       _-    24
                                           Police                                                                      30
                                           Nurse                                                                       21
                                           Tax Examiner                                                                13
                                           Total                                                                      271


                                           As with the MSAS,we also grouped the 11 occupations into broad catego-
                                           ries for analysis. We classified the occupations as “professional” (gen-
                                           eral attorney, pharmacist, industrial hygienist, and environmental
                                           engineer); “clerical/technical” (clerk typist, data transcriber, tax exam-
                                           iner, and medical clerk); “nursing” (nurse and practical nurse); and
                                           “police.” Table I.6 shows the number of questionnaires completed for
                                           each of these occupational groups.

Table 1.5: Number of Questionnaires by
Occupational Qroupingr                     Occupational grouping                               Number of questionnaires
                                           Professional                                                                61
                                           Clerical-Technical                                                         135
                                           Nursing                                                                     45
                                           Police                                                                      30
                                           Total                                                                      271




                                           Page 83                                  GAO/GGD-90417Inadequate Federal Pay
                    Appendix I
                    Objectives, Scope,and Methodology




Administering the   In each selected location, management officials at the agency (EPA), sub-
Questionnaires      agency, or hospital (VA) level were contacted by our regional staff and
                    asked to designate a focal point responsible for completing each ques-
                    tionnaire. That focal point was commonly a personnel official and in
                    many instances provided responses for more than one occupation at the
                    facility. Therefore, the number of focal points or respondents (176) was
                    less than the number of questionnaires administered (271). The focal
                    points were encouraged to obtain input from line managers responsible
                    for the occupations being surveyed; thus, the number of individuals
                    involved in the preparation of the questionnaires was larger than the
                    number of respondents.

                    After receiving the completed questionnaires, our regional staff con-
                    ducted follow-up interviews with the focal points and, in many cases,
                    the agency line managers who had helped the focal points complete the
                    questionnaires. The objectives of the follow-up interviews were to (1)
                    verify responses on the written questionnaires (making any necessary
                    changes), (2) obtain documentation to support the responses wherever
                    possible, and (3) probe for additional information. The follow-up inter-
                    views were done between December 1989 and May 1990.




                    Page 84                                  GAO/GGDQ@117Inadequate?Federal Pay
Appendix II

Combined Results of High and Low Quit
Rak Questionnaires


              INlROCUCTI!JN                                                   AESPONMNT INFORMATION

              The U.S. Cmral        Accounting Office WO), en agency of       Agency
              the Congrese, XJ studying waya for sgsnclea to improve
              the recrultmnt       and rstantion   of federal smploysss.      Subagency
              Ousrtionrwitee      ma being sent to personnel specmlists
              at epenciea where quit r&s          are high end where quit     City
              rst*s .!a low. In thin study, “quit” refers to
              voluntary separ&.ion from the federal government, and           Nanr, of Respondent
              does not lmluds retirementa,         transfera, OP other
              type, of .epar*t1o"n.        We have focusad on occupations     Title
              ouch 81 clerk-typists,       nursea, and engineers.    VW
              hwe bean selected bocwoe your aqancy/area haa B                 Phone "unbar
              crlrtwsly      large nunbsr of people in one of the
              occupations we have mlsctsd.                                    Yeare I" current          Position

              l’le~ss complete the sncloaed qusstlonnalrs       for the                             I        a        l       l      l

              occupation idantifiad      in queetlon 1. You should
              UI@JIIIP these questlow     by thinking about the sub-unrt      I.      RETENTION
              wlthln the agency for which you, aa a personnelist,
              am rseponsibla.       VW should obtain input frm’4ins            1.      In this study, we obtained data on quit ratsa for
              managers reeponcllble for this occupation in completing                  federal employees on board BLI of Dacsmbsr 31,
               thla questionnaire    either by diwzussmg the ie.we~                    1986 for the Z-year period endlng Oecelnber 31,
              with them or by hevlnq them help you mwvm the                            1988. According to our dsta the
              qusrtlonm.     Thm qumtionnsire      should take no more than            occupation hed a relatively . blah
                                                                                                                        -. quit rate
               15 minutes to complete.      In the event the return                    nationally  and 1" your agency end are8 (over
              anvrlope I# mlsplacsd, the return address is:                            about 9 percent for 1906 cohort over the 2 yasr
                                                                                       period.)
                   U.S. GENERAL ACCOUNTIffi OFFICE
                   Mr. Curtis Copelend                                                 To your knowledge,          18 this   generally   correct?
                   bbI G Street, N.W, Room 3820                                        0.2-lECKONE.)
                   Wsshington, D.C. 205A8
                                                                                       1. 88.9%     Yes     (CONTINUE TO OUESTION2)
              If you have any questlone about this qusat~onnaxs   or
              the larger project,  plsmas call Curt18 Copsland at                      2.    6.X    NO (ATTACH ANY DATA OR OTHEREVIDENCE
              (202) 275-8101.                                                                           TO INOICATE A LOWOUIT RATE FOR
                                                                                                        THIS OCCUPATIONIN YOURAGENCYAND
              Thank you for your help.                                                                  AREA AND SKIP TO OUESTION 11.)

                                                                                       3.    4.6% Don't know/Unable to judge
                                                                                                  (CONTINUE TO QUESTION 2.)

                                                                                     Ns271




              'ALTHOUGH DATA ARE PRESENTEDFOR BOTH HIGH ANO LOWOUIT RATE OUESTIDNNAIRES, THE HIGH WIT RATE WESTIONNAIRE
                FORHATHAS BEEN USED TO CONVEYTHESE RESULTS. PERCENTAGESFOR OUESTIONS IN THIS APPENDIX DO NOT ALWAYSADD TO
                100 PERCENT DUE TO RDUM)ING.




                              Page 85                                                              GAO/GGB90-117Inadequate Federal Pay
                 Combhwd Berultr, of High and Low Quit
                 Rate i&leationnalrea




2.    To the beat of your knowledge, how important are the following                          factor*    in causing slployew          to stay or lewe
      this occupmtim in your agency? (CHECK ONE BOX IN EACH Ron.)

                                                                              Very      Stnewhat    No effect       Samwhat     very      Don't
                                                                            importanl : il nportsnt an stay/        important important   know/
                                                                            reasml tc1 r, maon to     1OWtI         teaao” to rssson to Unable to
                              FACTORS                                          stay         atmy    dscimion           lClWL3    lBW0     Ww

 1.   Pmy canpsrsd to the nonfedora   sector (private
      uctor,  6tm4/loc~l  govornmntr,   etc.)    Nz254                           I.%       7.1           5.9            22.4        55.9             .e

2.    Benefita  (lssvr, retirement,  health msurmcs,
      ate.) cocnpered to the nonfederal sector
                                                                 Ns25b          15.4%     22.8          22.0            21.7        15.4            2.8

1.    Content of the work (chsllsnging                aeoigments.
      utonomy, etc.)                                                                      24.8          xl.7            19.7         8.3            2.0

4.    Staffing  (t-umber of stmff          asaignsd     to hmdls
      the workload)                                              N-254           2.4%      4.7          37.0            28.0        23.6            4.5


 5.   Difficulty   of the work (degree to which it                  is                                          i
      dmanding/tschnic~l    for averegs smployos)
                                                                 Nd5b            3.5%     15.7          54.7            15.0         6.3            4.7
                                                                                                    I               I           I               I
 6.   Physical      onvirownent       (attractivenoes  of work
      wtting,       wnilobility        of support equipment,
                                                                                                    I               I           I               I
      etc.)                                                      Ns25b           2.8%     15.0      1   44.9        1   26.8    1    8.7        1   2.0    1

 7.   Paycholog~cal envmmaant      (compatibility                with
      colleaguee,  manegement style, etc.)                       NC254           7.9%     22.0      /   31.1        /   23.2    j    1.9        /   7.1    j

 8.   Reputetion/image        of ths federal        govsrmsnt          aa
      ml employer                                                Ns25b           3.5%

 9.   Reputat~on/mmags of the agency (versus                   other
      apemien) a* *n employer                                    Nm25b           7.5%

10.   Portability      of FERS retirement           symtem       N.254             .ez


11.   lrauung       opportunities       available                N+25b           7.9x
                                                                            1
12.   C.WOO~ advancement opportunities                wallable
                                                                 Nz25b           9.8%

13.   Job aseurlty       (stsbllity      of govsrnlaent      al) B”
      aplayer )                                                  Nz25b          35.4%

14.   Awilabillty        of jobs outelde        the agency in your
      arm                                                         N.254          5.5%

15.   Travel     rsqulrad    I" job                               Ns253            .b%      5.1         82.2              2.0              .b       9.9

(6.   Cannuting      requrremsnts       (locatmn      of job     1” thl)
      WOO)                                                        N.254           3.1%     lb.2         49.6             20.5         6.7            5.9

17.   Other (specify)                                             NE42




                    Page 86                                                                         GAO/GGD-90-117Inadequate Federal Pay
                      Appendix II
                      Combined Results of High and Low Quit
                      Rate Questionnaires




 3.   How long haa your agency bean ewpariamlng   a                                     4.     Compared to 3 years ago, we quit rates in this
      high-quit rmte in this occupation?   (CHECK ONE.)*                                       occupation, in this agency/srea, higher, lower,
                                                                                               or about the same?
      1. 1        1 Los6 than 1 yeer                                                   Ns25b
                                                                                               I.    Il.84   Much higher
      2.   I      1 1 year to lams than 5 years
                                                                                               2. 23.6% Somewhat higher
      3. [        1 3 yews           to leaa than 5 years
                                                                                               3. 39.6% About the same
      4. t        I     5 ysars      to 10 yssra
                                                                                               4. 13.0% Somewhat lower
      5. t        1 IO yellrs or MCI)
                                                                                               5.     6.3%   Much lonsc
      6.   [      1 Don't         know/No basis to judge
                                                                                               6.     5.5%   Don't     know/No baa&s to judge

 5.   lo the best of your knowledge, ace quit ratsa in your agency for thin occupation hlghsr, lower, or about the
      11amaecr thorns of large and medium/amsll prlvats firms. state government, local govsrnnmnte, nonprofit
      organizatzona,   or other federal aqsnclso I” your area? (CHECK ONE BOX IN EACH ROW.)

                                                                               Agency                Agency            Agency
                                                              Agency          qut rats              qut rats          quit rate      Agency      Don't know/
                                                             qut rate         somewhat              about the         aonswhat      qut rate      No baala
                                                            much higher        higher                 sama              l.JVler    much lower     to judqe

 1.   Prlvata         eector                       Nn254       15.1%            16.1                   9.8               2.8           2.0          53.5

2.    stats     govsrnmmt                          N-25(1       7.9%            10.6                  16.1               3.5           1.6          60.2

 3.   Local governnsnts                            NE254        9.1%             0.7                  16.1               2.0             .8         63.0

                                                                          I
 4.   Nonprofit         orqanuatione               NE254        3.9%             5.5                   9.1               1.6             .b         19.5


 5.   Other federal            sgsnciss            N:25b        2.8%             9.4                  29.9               3.1           3.5          51.2



6.    In the last 3 years, to uhst extent, of at all, have smployesa who left this occupatlan                                          I" your agency gone
      to asch of the followxng employment sectors?   (CHECK ONE BOX IN EACH ROW.)**

                                                                                                                                                 Don't know/
                                                            very great          Great               Moderate                        Little  or   No baela tc
                           sectors                             extent          extsnt                extent          same extent    no extent       judge

 1.   stnts     govsrnmsnt                         N:191        1.0%             2.1                   1.3              lb.1          53.9          21.5

2.    Local govsrnsnt                              N:l91        2.1%             6.3                   5.8              10.5          54.5          20.9

3.    Prlvsts         sector                       Nn191       39.8%           29.3                   12.6               9.h           3.7           5.2

4.    Nonprofit         organlzst&ons              N;191        3.1%             3.1                   5.8               5.2          38.7          44.0

5.    Other federal            sgancass            Nz191        B.Q%            13.6                  18.3              31.9          19.9           7.9

6.    Other (spsclfy)                              N126
                                                                                               I


 'DATA NOT PRESENTEDBECAUSEOUESTIONDIFFERENT FOR HIGH AND LOWDUIT RATE OUESTIONNAIRES.
+WIGti QUIT RATE OUESTIONNAIREDATA ONLY--LOW OUIT RATE RESPONDENTSWERENOT ASKED THIS GUESTION.




                      Page 07                                                                                GAO/GGD-90417Inadequate Federal Pay
                     Appendix II
                     Combined R.eeultaof Iii& and Low Quit
                     Rate Questionnaires




 7.     In your opinux~, WCW(Ithe employees who have quit this occupation in your agency in the la& 3 yeara,
        eupmior parfornsrs, a nix of superior and poor psrformsra,  or all poor psrformoro?   (CHECK DNE.)
Ma188
        I.       0% All were superior              perforners

        2. 21.8%       Moat wra        superior       psrformers

        3.   71.Bx     A mix of superior           and poor psrformors

        0.    I.62     Host wore poor psrformsrs

        5.       0% All wara poor psrform+ra

        6.    4.8% Don't          know performanm             of those who quit

 8.     To whet extent, lf at a11 doee the high qut rats xn this                                 occupation    create    any of the following          operational
        problem8 for your agency? (CHECK ONE BOX IN EACH RDW.)*

                                                                                                                                                      Don't know

             Operational      Problems                          I   very groat
                                                                       extent       I
                                                                                         Great
                                                                                        extent
                                                                                                    Moderate
                                                                                                     extent       Some extant
                                                                                                                                     Little  or
                                                                                                                                     no extant
                                                                                                                                                      no basic to
                                                                                                                                                         jwe

 1.     Reduced service           delivery            N-191            22.5%        1 ~~~ 32.5        16.2              13.6           12.0               3.1
                                                                I

 2.     Increased      training       costs           Nzl90     1      25.0%        1    29.5         18.6              17.0            5.3               3.7

 3.     Incrsased      recrultlng       Costs         N-191            2fl.3x            28.3          19.9              9.9           11.0               2.6

 0.     Upper-level        people doing
        lower-lsvsl        work                       MA91             22 .O%            31.0         22.0              11.5           11.5               1.6

 5.     Incraaeod      contractor       Costs         N-190             7.b%               1.6          5.8              b.7           06.8              33.7


 6.     Incraasad      uoo of ovsrtlme          pay
                                                      Ma191            22.5%             28.8          15.7             lb.7           lb.1               b.2

 7.     Reduced productxvlty                          Nm190            19.5%             32.1          18.4             18.4     I      9.5       I       2.1        I

 8.     Other (spaclfy)                               Nz17



 9.     DOW thle       occupstion        receive      special        psy rates      in your agency and orso?        (CHECK ONE.)**
Nr25b
        I.   69.6%     ~00   (CONTINUE ~0 I~UESTIDN 10.)

        2. 49.6%      No
                                                                                (SKIP TO DUESTION 11.)
        3.      .a     Don't know/No basla to judge




  *HIGH OUIT RATE OUESTIONNAIREDATA ONLY--LOW DUIT RATE RESPONOENTS
                                                                  WERENOT ASKED THIS OUESTION.
'*RESPONSES TO THIS OUESTION ARE INCORPORATEDIN A SEPARATEREPORTON THE SPECIAL RATES PROGRAM(CGD-90-318).




                      Page 88                                                                                 GAO/GGD-90-117Inadequate Federal Pay
                    Appendix II
                    Combined Resulta of High and Low Quit
                    Rate Questionnaires




IO.     In your cqinion, how effective or umffrctivs               13.     To what oxtent, if at all, is your agsncy/arra
        have the apecml rater been I" reducing turnover                    having trouble rscruting    nsw mployeer for this
        in this occupation in your agency? (CHECK ONE.)*                   occupation?    (CHECK ONE.)
Nil26                                                              Ns271
        1. 26.2%     Very sffmA.lve                                        1. 19.6% Very greet extent             -

        2. 50.8%     Somewhat effective                                    2. 22.1%      Great extent                     (CONTINUE TO
                                                                                                                          WESTIDN lb.)
        3.   5.6% Nslthar     effect&w       nor weffsctlve                3. 21.8%      Moderate extent

        4.   3.2%    Somewhat ineffsotlvs                                  0.   1O.W. Sons extent       1

        5.   7.1% Very 1neffect1vs                                         5. 26.7%      Little    or no extent       -
                                                                                                                            (SKIP TO
        6.   3.2% Don't     know/No baais to judge                         6.    1.8% Don't know/                           OUESTION 16.1
                                                                                      No baa&e to judge A-

II.     RECRUITHEN                                                 lb.     How long have you had difficulty   rscruitinq    for
                                                                           this occupation I" your agency/area?       (ENTER
11.     Dow your sgsncy collect      any data on a regular                 WIMR OF MDNTHS.)
        bawl) to indxats     whether your agency is having         N.199
        trouble rscrultlng    “aw omployoea for this                       I.     .5% Less than 1 year
        oooupatlon?     (CHECK DNE.)
N.271                                                                      2. 20.1%      1 year to less than 3 years
        I. 59.0%     Yea   (CONTINUE TO OUESTION 12.1
                                                                           3. 39.2%      3 ~OBPB to less than 5 yeera
        2. 34.3% No
                                                   (SKIP TO                b.   25.6%    5 yeara    to 10 years
        3.   6.3% Don't know/                      OUESTION 13.)
                  No baa&a to judge           1-                           5. 12.6%      10 years or more

12.     Whwh of the following    types of date doss your                   6.    2.0%    Don't know/No baas           to judge
        sgsncy collect   on a regular basis to indxate
        whether there u a recruiting    problem for thie
        occupation?    (CHECK ALL THAT APPLY.)
N.161
        1. 96.0%     Number of vacancies

        2. 76.0%     Tuna needed to fill       poeltions

        3. 57.1% Number of offers           par hlrs

        4. 78.97.    Number of applicants

        5. 21.1%     Other (apeclfy)




'RESPONSESTO THIS OUESTION ARE INCORPORATEDIN A SEPARATEREPORTON THE SPECIAL RATES PROGRAMtGGD-90-1181.




                    Page 89                                                             GAO/GGD-99417Inadequate Federal Pay
              Appendix II
              Combined Ite~ulta of High and Low Quit
              Rate Questionnaires




15.   To what extent, If et all, do the recruiting difficulties in this occupation                                    create       any of the following
      operational  problems for your agency? (CHECK ONE BOX IN EACH ROW.)


                                                                                                                                                     Don't know
                                                             very great        Great            Moderate                            Little  or       no basm to
         Opsratlonal      Problems                              extent        extent             extant          Some extent        “0 extant           Judge

 1.   Reduced amvme          delivery            N:199          19.1%          31.2               24.6              15.6               6.5              3.0

 2.   Increased   training       costs           N.199          18.1%          27.6                19.6             19.6              12.6              2.5

 3.   Increaaad   rscrultlng       costs         N;199 r z-126.6123:6-                                       r      12.1       1      10.6       1      1.5       1

 Q. Upper-lsvsl        people doing
    lowrr-level        work                      N:199 1        10.1%     1    32.7         1     23.6       1      15.6       1       9.5       1        .5      1

 5.   Increased   contractor       Costa         N.198 1         5.6%     1     2.5         1          7.1   1       7.1       1      '48.5      1     29.3       1

 6.   Increased   ~81) of overtime         pay
                                                 ,+I99   )      21.6%     1    31.2         1      19.6      1      10.6       1      14.1       1      3.0       (

 7.   Reduced productivity                       N:199 1 ~20.6%           1    28.6    -1       yi.6         1      19.1       1       7.5       ]      1.5       1

 8.   Other (specify)
                                                 N=le    I                I                 I                I                 I                 I                I




              Page 90                                                                                    GAO/GGlMO-117Inadequate Federal Pay
.                        Appendix II
                         Combined Reaulta of High and Low Quit
                         Rate QueationnaIree




    16.    To the boot of your kno*led9e, how important a! I the4 following                                      hcl ms in a person’r de :iaim               to accept or
           decline an mploymmt   offer in this occqmtion   w-4your qmcy?                                          (Cl :CK WE Bw IN EACH IOn.)

                                                                                      very    saulltmt  No effect                        Smmhat       Very   Don’t
                                                                                    important importmn1 0” l mpt                         important important know/
                                                                                    m*so” to *emon tc /decline                           m*mm tr PO~IW” to Unable to
                                                                                     accept    accept   dacision                          declins dsClill0   .ww

      1.   Pay cmparsd to the nonfederal sector (private
           aactor, *tale/local govermentm, etc.)      N=26’i                            10.4%             11.9       --l-- 3.7             19.3       53.2           1.5
                                                                                    --l--
      2.   Bmfite   (lewe,  retiranmt,   health insurance,
           etc.) campered to the nonfederal se&or      Nd64                            lb.l%              36.1           15.2              21.2       11.9           1.5
                                                                                                I                                    I

      3.   Content of the work (challsnqing                  assignments,
           wto”omy,  etc.)                                                Nd6S         11.2%
                                                                                                I
                                                                                                          32.3           37.9
                                                                                                                                     I
                                                                                                                                           11.2        3.7
                                                                                                                                                                I
                                                                                                                                                                     3.7
                                                                                                                                                                            I

      4.   Steffinp (“wber           of staff     assignad to handle
           UN workload)                                        ~~        N;169r         l.i-    I-         9.3       1   52.8        ]     20.1

      5.   Difficulty    of the work (degree to which it is
           deranding/technical    for average employee) Nr269                                             19.3           57.2              11.9

      6.   Physical       envirowant         (attractivsnsas of work                                                             i
           setting,       availability        of wpport equipment,
                                                                                                          22.3           b0.5              23.8        7.0      I    0.5    I

      7.   Psychological  snvirMnent  (cmpatibility                      with
           colls*gwa,    mmugsunt sty1.3, etc.)                           N.269l        4.8%    1         21.6       1   07.2        /     11.2        3.0          12.3
                                                                                                                                                                I           I

      8.   Reputation/image          of the federal         govsrwnt           as
           ml employer                                                    Nz269         5.6%              29.0           32.0              26.b

      9.   Reputatio”/mags of the epency (versus                       other
           agencies) m an employer                                        Nr269         a .2x             29.0           40.9              15.2


    10.    Portability        of FERS retirement           syotem         N.269         1.5%              12.3           62.5               1.5

    11.    Treinwag opportunltirs             available                   N.269         9.7%              39.8           33.5               8.6

    12.    Cweer      advwcement         opportunitlss       avarlable
                                                                          N.269        13.1%              03.5           17.8              15.2

           Agency recruiting  tsehnlquse                 (1.0. WI of
           job fura,   campus recruiting,                 etc.)



           Job rscurlty         (atabalaty      of government 88 a”


    16.    Avarlability         of joba outside          the sgancy In your
           ame                                                            N-265

    17.    Travel     rsqursd       1” job                                Nz267

    le.    Commuting requirements              (locntlon     of job in the
           area)                                                          N-26$         4.1%              13.8           50.9              lb.1        7.8      !    9.3    ]

    19.    Other (spsafy)                                                 N.34
                                                                                                     i-




                         Page 91                                                                                     GAO/GGD-99-117Inadequate Federal Pay
                                                                                                                                            ,
                    Appendb II                                                                                                                          .
                    Combined hulta of High and Law @it
                    Rate Quesdondres




11.     Canparsd to 3 years ago, has recruiting               for this    occupatmn    bacam mom difficult,           saaisr,         or stayed about
        the swm? (CHECK ONE.)
Nr269
        1. 21.21      Much more difficult

        2. 27.1%      Somewhat more difficult

        3. 30.9%      Stayed about ths aam8

        0. 10.8% Somewhat easier

        5.   6.31     Much e)881ec

        6.   3.7% Don't         know/No basis to judge

18.     In your opinion, how effective  or lneffectlve have the following OPM programa been in lnprovlng recrultmsnt
        for this occupstlon?   (IF THE PROGRAMIS USED IN YOURAGENCYAND AREA, BUT YOU DON'T KNOWTHE PROGRAM'S
        EFFECTIVENESS, INOICATE "DON'T KNOW". IF THE PROGRAMIS NOT USED IN VOUR AGENCYAND AREA, OR IF YOU ARE NOT
        SURE IF IT IS USED, IMHCATE “NOBASIS TO JUDGE”.)

                                                                            Neither
                                                                           effective
                                            Very           Somewhat            “OP       Somswhat        Very                               No basis
         OPMPrograms                     sffect1vs         effective     ineffective   ineffective   ineffective       Don't know           to judge

 1.     Special     rates*       Ns270      18.9%            25.2             0.6            .*           1.9                    .7             00.5

 2.     Delegated     examan~ng
        authority            N-269          q5.a             10.4             2.6            .O           1.5                   0.5             65.0

 3.     Delegated     hirlng
        authority                N.270      33.3%            23.7             1.9            .O           1.5                   3.7             35.9

 A.     Advanced step
        appointment              N:270      11.1%            15.6             3.7            .O             -7                  1.9             67.0

 5.     Outstandzng      scholar
        progrern               N.270           1.5%           3.0             3.3            .O             .O                  3.3             88.9

 6.     Other (epsclfy)          Ns37


19.     In your opinmn, is the quality of the nsurscrults                    over the past 3 ysers hlghsr          OS lower then the quality            of
        recruits in previous years?   (CHECK ONE.)
Ns270
        1.   2.6% Much hlghsr

        2. 18.1'1 Somawhat higher

        3. 39.5% About the 8emo

        6. 2'4.6% Somewhat lower

        5. 12.6X Much lower

        6.   3.3% Don't        know/No basis    to judge


'RLSPONSES TO THIS OUESTION ARE INCORPORATEDIN A SEPARATEREPORTON THE SPECIAL RAIES PROGRAM(GGO.90-118).




                    Page 92                                                                       GAO/GGD-90417Inadequate Federal Pay
      Appendix II
      combined l&cult,8 of High and Lew Quit
      t&tte t&W?StiONIllh6




II.   COMUENTS

20.   Plsma   g&w “(I my additional   cements     you may have on this   aubjsct   in tha spe.cs below.



      Na271


      Comaantst      50.6%
      No comments:   49.4%




                                                Thenk you For your cooperatm




      Page 93                                                            GAO/GGD-W-117Inadequate Federal Pay
Ppt3                                                                                     ,

G;cy Installations/Occupations Focusedon in
This Review

              Listed in table III. 1 are the agency installations visited in our review and
              the occupations covered in each installation. Each installation repre-
              sents the lowest level personnel office for a particular occupation at an
              agency in a particular geographic area. In most cases, the relevant per-
              sonnel office was at the subagency level (i.e., below the major depart-
              ment or agency) or lower. The installations are shown by MSAand,
              within each MSA,by agency, subagency, and occupation. Where more
              than one occupation is listed for a particular subagency, separate ques-
              tionnaires were administered at that installation for each occupation.
              For example, in surveying the Adjutant General subagency at Army in
              St. Louis, we administered separate questionnaires for the data trans-
              criber and clerk typist occupations.

              In some MSAS,each medical center or hospital within the Department of
              Veterans Affairs’ Medicine and Surgery subagency had independent per-
              sonnel authority. Where this occurred, we went below the subagency
              level to administer separate questionnaires at each hospital. For
              example, in the New York MSA,the Department of Medicine and Surgery
              is divided into four hospitals with independent personnel authority: the
              Bronx VA Medical Center, the Brooklyn VA Medical Center, the FDR VA
              Hospital, and the Manhattan VA Medical Center. We therefore adminis-
              tered separate questionnaires at each hospital for each of the 6 VA occu-
              pations surveyed in the New York MSA-i.e., a total of 24 questionnaires
              in all.’

              A similar breakout within subagencies occurred in other agencies. For
              example, the Department of the Treasury’s IRSsubagency in Atlanta is
              further divided into the regional office, the district office, and the ser-
              vice center. We administered separate questionnaires at each location
              for the clerk typist, data transcriber, and tax examiner occupations. All
              subagencies, as applicable, are identified in the installation listings in
              table III. 1.

              A total of 271 questionnaires were completed in this review. Each of
              those questionnaires is represented by a separate occupation in table
              111.1.




              ‘We coveredall VA hospitalsand VAMCsin eachof the selectedMSAaexceptfor LosAngeles.There,
              we coveredthe WestLosAngelesVAMC,the largestVAMCin the LosAngelesMSA,but did not cover
              the Sepulvedaor LongBeachVAMCs.



              Page 94                                           GAO/GGBW-117 Inadequate Federal Pay
     c                                     Appendix IU
                                           Agency In.stallatio~/~pationa   Focused
                                           oninTltl8Review




Table 111.1:Audlt Sltes for the Review by MSA, Agency, Subagency, and Occupation
MSA                     Agency               Subaaencv                                  Occuoatlon
1. Atlanta           Labor                 OSHA                                         Industrial Hygienist
                     Treasury              IRS (Regional Office)                        Clerk Typist
                                                                                        Data Transcriber
                                                                                        Tax Examiner
                                                                                        General Attorney
                     Treasury              IRS (District Office)                        Clerk Typist
                                                                                        Data Transcriber
                                                                                        Tax Examiner
                     Treasury              IRS (Service Center)                         Clerk Typist
                                                                                        Data Transcriber
                                                                                        Tax Examiner
                     VA                    Veterans Benefits                            Clerk Typist
                                           Medicine and Surgery                         Clerk Typist
                                                                                        Practical Nurse
                                                                                        Pharmacist
                                                                                        Medical Clerk
2. Baltimore         Army                  Test and Evaluation Command                  Clerk Typist
                                           Army Forces Command                          Clerk Typist
                                           Corps of Engineers                           Clerk Typist
                                           Armament Munitions and Chemical              Clerk Typist
                                             Command
                                           Health Services Command                      Industrial Hygienist
                                                                                        Environmental Engineer
                                           Material Readiness Activities                Environmental Engineer
                     HHS                   SSA                                          Clerk Typist
                                                                                        Data Transcriber
                                                                                        General Attorney
                     VA                    Medicine and Surgery                         Police
                                                                                        Pharmacist
                                                                                        Medical Clerk
3. Boston            Army                  Army Forces Command                          Clerk Typist
                                           Army National Guard                          Clerk Typist
                                           Corps of Engineers                           Clerk Typist
                                           Health Services Command                      Medical Clerk
                     EPA                   EPA                                          General Attorney
                     VA                    Medicine and Surgery (Boston VAMC)           Police
                                                                                        Clerk Typist
                                                                                        Practical Nurse
                                                                                        Pharmacist
                                                                                        Medical Clerk
                                           Medicine and Surgery (Bedford VA Hospital)   Police
                                                                                        Clerk Typist
                                                                                        Practical Nurse
                                                                                        Pharmacist
                                                                                        Medical Clerk
                                                                                                                      (continued)




                                          Page 96                                            GAO/GGDSO-117Inadequate Federal Pay
MSA              Agency      Subagency                                  Occupation
4. Chicago       EPA         EPA                                        Environmental Engineer
                                                                        General Attorney
                 HHS         SSA                                        Clerk Typist
                                                                        Data Transcriber
                 Labor       OSHA                                       Industrial Hygienist
                 Treasury    IRS                                        Clerk Typist
                                                                        Data Transcriber
                                                                        Tax Examiner
                 VA          Medicine and Surgery (Hines VA Hospital)   Police
                                                                        Clerk TvDist
                                                                        Nurse -’
                                                                        Practical Nurse
                                                                        Pharmacist
                                                                        Medical Clerk
                             Medicine and Surgery (West Side VAMC)      Police
                                                                        $rreTypist
                                                                        Practical Nurse
                                                                        Pharmacist
                                                                        Medical Clerk
                             Medicine and Surgery (Lakeside VAMC)       Police
                                                                        C%&eTypist

                                                                        Practical Nurse
                                                                        Pharmacist
                                                                        Medical Clerk
5. Dallas        EPA         EPA                                        Clerk Twist
                                                                        Environmental Engineer
                                                                        General Attorney
                 Labor       OSHA                                       Industrial Hygienist
                 Treasury    IRS                                        Clerk Typist
                                                                        General Attorney
                                                                        Tax Examiner
                 VA          Medicine and Surgery                       ≤eTypist
                                                                        Practical Nurse
                                                                        Pharmacist
6. Denver        Air Force   Air National Guard                         Police
                             Air Training Command                       Clerk Typist
                             Accounting and Finance Center              Clerk Typist
                                                                        Data Transcriber
                             Air Force Legal Services Center            Data Transcriber
                 Army        Health Services Command                    Police
                                                                        @&Typist
                                                                        Practical Nurse
                                                                        Pharmacist
                                                                        Medical Clerk
                 EPA         EPA                                        Environmental Engineer
                                                                        General Attornev
             *   Labor       OSHA                                       Industrial Hygienist
                 Treasury    U.S. Mint                                  Police
                                                                                                     (continued)



                             Page B6                                        GAO/GGIMO-117Inadequate Federal Pay
       .                                                Appendix IIl
                                                        ~eq$&dl&om/Occupation~           Focused




MSA                                Agency               Subagency                                   Occupation
                                                        IRS                                         General Attorney
                                                                                                    Tax Examiner
                                   VA                   Medicine and Surgery                        Police
                                                                                                    C$keTypist
                                                                                                    Practical Nurse
                                                                                                    Pharmacist
                                                                                                    Medical Clerk
              _   . - .-_..--...                        Veterans Benefits                           Clerk Typist
7. IIetroit                        Treasury             IRS                                         Clerk Typist
                                                                                                    Data Transcriber
                                                                                                    Tax Examiner
                                   VA                   Medicine and Surgery                        Police
                                                                                                    Clerk Typist
                                                                                                    Pharmacist
                                                                                                    Medical Clerk
                                                     ---- Veterans Benefits__-                      Clerk Typist
8. Kansas City                     Army                    Training and Doctrine Command            Clerk Typist
                                                           Corps of Engineers                       Clerk Typist
                                                           Health  Services Command
                                                             ..- -____-..           -~--.---  --.   Medical Clerk
                                   EPA                     EPA                                      Environmental Engineer
                                              .-. _.--.. .~~__.._...
                                                                  ._.__---.----..__---       --     General Attorney
                                   Treasury                IRS                                      Data Transcriber
                                              .._.~                                                 Tax Examiner                    --
                                   VA                      Medicine and Surgery (Kansas CimVAMC)    Police
                                                                                                    C$;$eTypist
                                                                                                    Practical Nurse
                                                                                                    Pharmacist
                                                                                                    Medical Clerk
                                                        Medicine and Surgery (Leavenworth VAMC)     Police
                                                                                                    CI&~ypist
                                                                                                    Practical Nurse
                                                                                                    Pharmacist
                                                                                                    Medical Clerk
9. Los Angeles                     Navy                 Commander in Chief, U.S. Pacific Fleet      Police
                                                        Sea Systems Command                         Clerk Typist
                                                        Naval Medical Command                       Clerk Tvpist
                                                                                                            _.
                                   Treasury             IRS                                         Clerk Typist
                                                                                                    Data Transcriber
                                                                                                    General Attorney
                                                                                                    Tax Examiner
                                   VA                   Medicine and Surgery (West Los Angeles      Police
                                                          VAMC)                                     Clerk Typist
                                                                                                    Data Transcriber
                                                                                                    Nurse
                                                                                                    Practical Nurse
                                                                                                    Pharmacist
~-                                                                                                  Medical Clerk
IO. New York                       EPA                  EPA                                         Environmental Engineer
                                   HHS                  SSA                                         Data Transcriber
                                                                                                                                 (continued)



                                                        Page 97                                         GAO/GGD430-117
                                                                                                                     Inadequate Federal Pay
                                             Appendix JJl                                                                    .
                                             Agency InMallatlo~/Occupations     Focused
                                             on in This Review




MSA                    Agency                 Subagency                                   Occupation
                       Labor
                           ._.....-..
                                 -~           OSHA
                                        _____--.                                          Industrial Hygienist
                       Treasury               IRS (New York Regional Office)              Clerk Typist
                                              IRS (Manhattan District)                    Clerk Typist
                                                                                          Data Transcriber
                                                                                          General Attorney
                                                                                          Tax Examiner
                                              IRS (Brooklyn District)                     Data Transcriber
                                              IRS (Brookhaven Service Center)             Data Transcriber
                                                                                          Tax Examiner
                                              Customs Service                             Clerk Typist
                                                   --                                     Data Transcriber
                       VA                     Medicine and Surgery (Bronx VAMC)           Police
                                                                                          Clerk Typist
                                                                                          Nurse
                                                                                          Practical Nurse
                                                                                          Pharmacist
                                                                                          Medical Clerk
                                              Medicine and Surgery (Brooklyn VAMC)        Police
                                                                                          C&&Typist
                                                                                          Practical Nurse
                                                                                          Pharmacist
                                                                                          Medical Clerk
                                              Medicine and Surgery (FDR VA Hospital)      Police
                                                                                          C%$eTypist
                                                                                          Practical Nurse
                                                                                          Pharmacist
                                                                                          Medical Clerk
                                              Medicine and Surgery (Manhattan VAMC)       Police
                                                                                          CZl”,‘skeTypist
                                                                                          Practical Nurse
                                                                                          Pharmacist
                                                                                          Medical Clerk
11. Norfolk            Navy                   Atlantic Fleet                              Police
                                                                                          Clerk Typist
                                              Naval Sea Systems Command                   Police
                                                                                          Clerk Typist
                                              Naval Medical Command (Environmental        Industrial Hygienist
                                                Health Center)
                                              Naval Medical Command (Portsmouth Naval     Clerk Typist
                                                Hospital)                                 Nurse
                                                                                          Practical Nurse
                                                                                          Medical Clerk
                                                                                          Industrial Hygienist
                                              Naval Supply Command                        Clerk Typist
                                              Naval Facilities Engineering Command        Clerk Typist
                       VA                     Medicine and Surgery                        Nurse
                                                                                          Practical Nurse
                                                                                          Medical Clerk
12. Philadelphia   ”   EPA                    EPA                                         Environmental Engineer
                                                                                          General Attorney
                                                                                                                        (continued)




                                             Page 98                                           GAO/GGD-90-117Inadequate Federal Pay
MSA                         Agency      Subagency                                   Occupation
                            HHS         SSA                                         General Attorney
                            Labor       OSHA                                        Industrial Hygienist
                            Navy        Sea Systems Command (Naval Ships            Clerk Typist
                                          Engineering Station)
                                        Sea Systems Command (Naval Shipyard)        F$zeWist

                                        Electronic Systems Command                  Clerk Typist
                                        Supply Systems Command                      Clerk Typist
                            __^--.      Facilities Engineering Command              Environmental Engineer
                            Treasury    U.S. Mint                                   Police
                                        IRS (District Office)                       Data Transcriber
                                                                                    General Attorney
                                                                                    Tax Examiner
                                        IRS (Regional Office)                       General Attorney
                                        IRS (Service Center)                        Data Transcriber
                            -______                                                 Tax Examiner
                            VA          Medicine and Surgery                        Police
                                                                                    CIe;eTypist
                                                                                    Practical Nurse
                                                                                    Pharmacist
                                                                                    Medical Clerk
                                        Veterans Benefit                            Clerk Twist
13. San Antonio             Air Force   Logistics Command (Kelly AFB)               Police
                                                                                    Clerk Typist
                                        Training Command (Randolph AFB)             Clerk Typist
                                        Training Command (Lackland AFB)             Clerk Typist
                                        Systems Command                             Practical Nurse
                            --.--                                                   Medical Clerk
                            Army        Army Forces Command/Health       Services   Clerk Typist
                                          Command
                            Treasury    IRS                                         Data Transcriber
                            VA          Medicine and Surgery                        Police
                                                                                    (kI$;Typist
                                                                                    Practical Nurse
                                                                                    Pharmacist
..-   .__I-..-_   _---- _.-.--...--                                                 Medical Clerk
                                                                                                                (continued)




                                        Page 99                                          GAO/GGD@O-117
                                                                                                    Inadequate Federal Pay
MSA                 Agency
                      -.~.-    Subagency                                             Occupation
14. San Diego       Navy       Commander in Chief, Pacific Fleet (North              Police
                                  Island)                                            Clerk Typist
                               Commander in Chief, Pacific Fleet (Public             Police
                                  Works Center)
                               Air Systems Command                                   Clerk Typist
                               Naval Medical Command                                 Clerk Typist
                                                                                     Industrial Hygienist
                                                                                     Nurse
                                                                                     Practical Nurse
                                                                                     Medical Clerk
                               Facilities Engineering Command                        Environmental Engineer
                               Marine Corps                                          Clerk Twist
                    VA         Medicine and Surgery                                  C$;eTypist

                                                                                     Practical Nurse
                                                                                     Pharmacist
                                                                                     Medical Clerk
15. San Francisco   EPA        EPA                                                   Environmental Engineer
                    Treasury   U.S. Mint                                             Police
                               IRS                                                   Clerk Typist
                                                                                     General Attorney
                    VA         Medicine and Surgery                                  C$&eTypist
                                                                                     Pharmacist
                                                                                     Medical Clerk
16. St. Louis       Army       Aviation Systems Command                              Clerk Typist
                                                                                     Data Transcriber
                                                                                     General Attorney
                               Adjutant General                                      Clerk Typist
                                                                                     Data Transcriber
                    VA         Medicine and Surgery                                  Police
                                                                                     C%&Typist

                                                                                     Practical Nurse
                                                                                     Pharmacist
                                                                                     Medical Clerk
                               aAlthough it is technically not in the New York MSA, IRS officials said that we should include the Brook-
                               haven Service Center in Nassau-Suffolk MSA for the data transcriber and tax examiner occupations
                               because most of the employees in these occupations in their region were at Brookhaven.




                               Page 100                                                   GAO/GGD-90-117Inadequate Federal Pay
 Ppe   I

k$i        Contributors to This Report


                         Robert E. Shelton, Assistant Director, Federal Workforce
General Government         Future Issues
Division, Washington,    Curtis W. Copeland, Project Manager
D.C.                     Craig A. Bright, Evaluator-in-Charge


                         Tonia B. Brown, Evaluator
Atlanta Regional
Office

                         Anders T. Anderson, Regional Management Representative
Boston Regional Office   Herman A. Jenich, Evaluator


                         David Arseneau, Evaluator
Chicago Regional
Office

                         Calvin E. Phillips, Regional Management Representative
Dallas Regional Office   Richard L. Madson, Evaluator
                         Sandra H. Vice, Evaluator


                         James S. Moores, Regional Management Representative
Kansas City Regional     Larry D. VanSickle, Evaluator
Office

                         Eugene T. Cooper, Jr., Regional Management Representative
bs Angeles Regional
             -
Office -

                         Rudolf F. Plessing, Regional Management Representative
New York Regional        Patricia J. Scanlon, Evaluator
Office




                         Page 101                                GAO/GGDSO-117Inadequate Federal Pay
                                                                             *
                   Appendix IV                                                     0
                   Major Contdbutora to This Report




                   Virginia M. Saavedra, Evaluator
Norfolk Regional
Office    -

                   Bruce K. Engle, Evaluator
San Francisco
Regional Office




                   Page 102                           GAO/GGLMO-117Inadequate Federal Pay
Bibliography


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               tional Turnover: Toward an Organizational Level Model.” Academy of
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               Balkan, David B., Luis R. Gomez-Mejia. “Toward a Contingency Theory
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               Bellante, Don, and Albert N. Link. “Are Public Sector Workers More Risk
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               Blank, Rebecca M. “An Analysis of Workers’ Choice Between Employ-
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               Boston Federal Executive Board. Competing for the Future: A Report on
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               Cotton, John L., and Jeffrey M. Tuttle. “Employee Turnover: A Meta-
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               “Employee Turnover: Measurement and Control.” Compensation and
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               Hall, Thomas E. “How to Estimate Employee Turnover Costs.” Per-
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               Ippolito, Richard A. “Why Federal Workers Don’t Quit.” The Journal of
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               Johnson, William B., and others. Civil Service 2000. Prepared by the
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               Laser, Stephen A. “Dealing With the Problem of Employee Turnover.”
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               Los Angeles Federal Executive Board and the College Federal Council
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               Los Angeles Area: A Vicious Cycle. Los Angeles, December 1988.



               Page 103                                 GAO/GGD99-117Inadequate Federal Pay
Bibliography                                                         .




Lust, John, and Charles Fay. “The Impact of Compensation and Benefits
on Employee Quit Rates.” Compensation and Benefits Management, 5
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Metropolitan Northern New Jersey Federal Executive Board. The New
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August 1988.

Mobley, William H. Employee Turnover: Causes, Consequences, and
Control. Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley Publishing Company, 1982.

National Academy of Public Administration. The Quiet Crisis of the Civil
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1986.

New York Federal Executive Board. New York’s ‘Not So Quiet’ Federal
Employment Crisis. New York, April 1988.

Parsons, Charles K., David M. Herold, and Mary L. Leatherwood. “Turn-
over During Initial Employment: A Longitudinal Study of the Role of
Causal Attributions.” Journal of Applied Psychology, 70 (1985), pp.
337-41.

Pfeffer, Jeffrey, and Charles A. O’Reilly. “Hospital Demography and
Turnover Among Nurses.” Industrial Relations. 26 (Spring 1987).II pp.
                                                   .*     v       AL
158-73.           v

“Reforming the Federal Pay System: Special Report.” Government
Employee Relations Report, 27 (Dec. 18, 1989).

Report and Recommendations of the National Commission on the Public
Service. Printed for the Use of the House Committee on Post Office and
Civil Service. Committee Print 101-4. Washington, D.C.: Government
Printing Office, May 1989.

Shulman, Richard E. “Technology: Decade of the Employee Is at Hand.”
Supermarket Business, 43 (Nov. 1988), pp. 17-19,70.

Siegel, Gilbert B. “Compensation, Benefits and Work Schedules.” Public
Personnel Management, 18 (Summer 1989), pp. 176-92.

Sutton, Nancy A. “Are Employers Meeting Their Benefit Objectives?”
Benefits Quarterly, 2 (Third Quarter 1986), pp. 14-20.


Page 104                                 GAO/GGD-CM%117
                                                    Inadequate Federal Pay
Bibliography




US. Congressional Budget Office. Employee Turnover in the Federal
Government: A Special Study. February 1986.

U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board. Who Is Leaving the Federal Gov-
ernment? An Analysis of Employee Turnover. August 1989.

U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board. Why Are Employees Leaving the
Federal Government? Results of an Exit Survey. May 1990.

U.S. Office of Personnel Management. Federal White-Collar Pav” Svstem:
                                                                Y
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Utgoff, Kathleen C. “Compensation Levels and Quit Rates in the Public
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Page 105                                GAO/GGDBO-117Inadequate Federal Pay
Page 106   GAO/GGD-90-117Inadequate Federal Pay
Page 107   GAO/GGD-9W117Inadequate Federal Pay
                                                                                -i

RelaM GAO Products                                                                    D


                  Federal Recruiting and Hiring: Making Government Jobs Attractive to
                  Prospective Employees (GAO~CCD-90-106,Aug. 22, 1990).

                  Federal Pay: Comparisons with the Private Sector by Job and Locality
                  (GAO/GGD90-81FS, May 15, 1990).

                  Report of the National Advisory Commission on Law Enforcement
                  (OGC-90-2, Apr. 25, 1990).

                  Federal White-Collar Employee Salary Reform (GAO/T-GGD-90-21, Mar. 21,
                  1990).

                  Federal White-Collar Employee Salary Reform (GAO/T-~~~-90-22, Mar. 14,
                  1990).

                  Tax Administration: Need for More Management Attention to IRS' Col-
                  lege Recruitment Program (GAO/GGD-90-32, Dec. 22,1989).

                  Locality Pay for Federal Employees (GAO/T-GGD-89-27, June 26, 1989).

                  Federal ADP Personnel: Recruitment and Retention (GAO/IMTEC-8% 12BR,
                  Feb. 7, 1989).

                  Managing Human Resources: Greater OPM Leadership Needed to Address
                  Critical Challenges (GAO/GGD-89-19, Jan. 19, 1989).

                  Transition Series: The Public Service (GAO/OGG89-~TR, Nov. 29, 1988).

                  Federal Workforce: Pay, Recruitment, and Retention of Federal
                  Employees (GAO/GGD-~~-37,Feb. 10, 1987).




(9869@6/@68396)   Page 108                                 GAO/GGDW117 Inadequate Federal Pay
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                                                       .__...~.” “.*l”-.“l”.“--_--.----         --
                                                          ()rtlt~ring       I~il‘orr~~;r~iou




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Wastring;4orl, I).(:. 2054X                                                                                                            /                (;A0




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    -._---..-_.---                                 - .._. - --- ____... . .._-__.._....
                                                _.._                                 .._._._        _____.___.
                                                                                         .._ ..-...__. - ..________
                                                                                                                ~ .--__l_l__--