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June 09, 2020

CIO Council Releases the Future of the Federal IT Workforce Update

By CIO Council Operations

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Over the past nine months, the Federal Chief Information Officers Council (CIOC) worked to author an update that analyzed the major challenges affecting the Federal IT workforce. This update – the Future of the Federal IT Workforce – is a follow-up to the State of Federal Information Technology (SOFIT) Report released in 2017 which provided an overview of the current and future state of Federal IT.

Why We Created the Update

Because of the rapid changes in modern technology, cyber threats, and artificial intelligence, we wanted a deep understanding of the demands and risks associated with the changes in the Federal IT workforce.

By evaluating these technology impacts on the Federal IT workforce, we can focus improving on the workforce’s approach to mission-driven delivery of effective and efficient services to the American public.

Who We Interviewed

The team examined nearly two dozen interviews with key stakeholders in the Federal IT community, including agency Chief Information Officers (CIOs) and Chief Human Capital Officers (CHCOs), agency IT practitioners, private industry executives, IT innovators, consultants, and emerging technology researchers.

Building on the insights gleaned from these qualitative interviews, we analyzed hundreds of Federal statutes, policies, and reports; private sector studies and initiatives; and related news articles.

In addition, we evaluated public and private sector data and metrics to provide detailed, quantitative support for this update’s findings.

How We Structured the Update

We structured the update around three focus areas identified in the interviews, specifically:

  1. Examining the current state of the Federal IT workforce,
  2. Identifying and evaluating possible future workforce trends, and
  3. Proposing a path forward toward developing a modern, 21st-century workforce.

Primary Issue Areas

Within these focus areas, we found five Primary Issue Areas (PIAs) which form the essential actions required to build an IT workforce for the future: recruit/hire, retain, reskill, augment, and measure.

Drivers

We also evaluated the following drivers that influence the PIAs: innovation, mobility, cybersecurity, collaboration, and agility.

Our Recommendations

The update provides ten recommendations on how we can prepare the 21st-century IT workforce to optimize the business of Government.

Implementing these recommendations will improve employee engagement and workplace satisfaction, which will help agencies achieve their missions. The CIOC is focused on addressing these recommendations with a variety of approaches.

Some of these employee engagement initiatives include:

  • The 2017 Recruitment and Hiring Event in the Washington, D.C. metro area which attracted more than 1,800 attendees.
  • The 2019 Federal Cyber Reskilling Academy, which trained two cohorts of Federal employees in cybersecurity.
  • The 2019 Code Challenge, which attracted top IT talent by testing the coding skills of more than 1,000 participants.
  • The 2020 CIO/CISO Senior Executive Service (SES) Candidate Development Program (CDP), which trained 21 participants in leadership development specifically for future CISO/CIO leaders.
  • The annual Women in Federal IT and Cyber Conference, launched in 2018, which brings together the nation’s top federal IT executives to celebrate the success of women thriving in today’s federal technology industry.

While the Council’s members’ interviews influenced the observations and analysis in this update, their opinions do not necessarily represent a government-wide consensus as individual agency experiences vary.

*Please note, the extreme changes to the working environment due to COVID-19 were not considered in this update.

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