The US Office of Personnel Management, the agency that manages civilian government employees, is expanding efforts to attract tech industry talent into the federal workforce amid continuing layoffs at companies including Microsoft, Amazon and Facebook parent Meta.
Most dramatic among OPM’s initiatives is plans to issue new pay guidance to agencies, giving them flexibility to hire tech workers across the government at higher rates. The agency said those increased paychecks would likely be paid for in part by using funds from the 2021 infrastructure funding bill and 2022 CHIPS act.
“As the tech sector continues to see layoffs, the federal government is going to make a concerted effort to attract these individuals,” OPM Director Kiran Ahuja said in a statement Wednesday. “The federal government works in every sector and every industry, offering thousands of opportunities for those with tech experience like energy, transportation, health care and national security.”
The move comes as the tech industry is going through waves of layoffs, which industry tracker layoffs.fyi has estimated to have hit 191,912 employees across 1,148 companies. For many people, those moves have added to the wider economic uncertainty around the world.
While unsettling, the tech industry’s cost cutting comes after years of frenetic hiring and intense competition to bring on employees, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic. Microsoft, for example, said it will cut 10,000 jobs this year, after hiring 75,000 people since 2020. Meta, meanwhile, laid off about 11,000 employees late last year, after hiring more than 30,000 people during the pandemic.
For unemployed workers, the overall job market appears healthy, driven in part by demand from the government, which has been unable to fill about 2,500 jobs over the past three years.
To help simplify the processes, OPM also created the website tech.usajobs.gov to help prospective employees apply to multiple jobs across the government with a single application. And the agency’s making it easier to find federal jobs that offer remote and telework options, which have increased across the government by nearly 50% in the past two fiscal years.