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The US government is making an effort to employ people who were sacked from large IT companies.

The US Department of Veterans Affairs has a time chance to acquire top talent because of the massive layoffs in Silicon Valley. Due to a continuous shortage of IT specialists, hundreds of open posts, and more funds allocated by Congress in the previous year’s budget, the government is keen to seize the chance.

Kurt DelBene, the top information officer for the VA, joined the federal government after working for Microsoft for around 30 years to assist in repairing Healthcare.gov following its catastrophic meltdown during the Obama administration. DelBene has a lofty goal: he wants to make the agency the “absolute greatest location” for IT in the federal government by bringing in the best designers and engineers. The firm is hiring for several positions, including engineering leaders, product managers, user-experience designers, and customer-support specialists, much as any software development or IT business would.

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In the past, a sizable component of the labour shortages has been attributed to the pay difference between the US government and the private sector. The Run in the tech industry has widened the gap. According to research by workforce intelligence company Revelio Labs, while the roughly 135,000 tech workers employed by the US government and all of its agencies make slightly over $80,000 on average, the nearly 2.5 million private tech workers in the country make an average annual base salary of almost $110,000, excluding bonuses and equity-based compensation.

However, as the boom turns into a bust, firms from the government to the financial sector to automakers are eager to hire some of the 60,000 IT employees who have been let off so far this year, according to data from recruiting agency Challenger.

The senior vice president of the recruiter, Andy Challenger, claimed that the VA is not alone in its thinking and that he has spoken to individuals in virtually every field who share the same view on the use of the talent pool.

“They work in the field that pays the most, has the finest benefits, and has the best working conditions.” If they must enter an office, they may do it in this $500,000 playground with foosball tables and the greatest cuisine on earth. “Regarding the lavish benefits enjoyed by computer professionals, Challenger stated.”Any company finds it challenging to compete. Therefore, I believe the government faces a particularly challenging role.”

By the start of the next year, according to DelBene, the VA hopes to have its remuneration more in line with market prices. The VA is fully cognizant of the pressing need for higher wages. Along with increasing pay, the VA is trying to speed up the hiring process, so it doesn’t take six months to issue an official offer. The organization no longer has to persuade new hires to relocate to the country’s capital, thanks to the adoption of remote work.

It will be a difficult effort to persuade enough people to leave the private sector to fill the vacancy in government. According to Revelio Labs, just over 1,300 IT professionals made the transition last year. When multiplied by the dozens of federal agencies, which collectively employ more than 2 million people, that amounts to little more than a rounding error.

DelBene wants to clarify some additional misconceptions about what it’s like to serve in government, salaries excluded. One of his assertions is that the government is the last place to look for cutting-edge innovation because it is a sleepy backwater using antiquated technologies (or none at all, as is the shocking situation with the Internal Revenue Service).

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Some government systems that notably broke during the COVID-19 shutdown while delivering millions in humanitarian funds were built using that dated programming dialect. The VA has a clear plan for modernization, according to DelBene, who also holds the position of the assistant secretary for technology and information for the agency.

“The notion that government lacks creativity only applies to a certain set of issues—maybe it’s lousy at online apps,” said Charles Worthiness, director of technology for the VA. However, the government is rather adept at fostering innovation. ” According to him, the VA has been particularly innovative in the field of medicine, having developed the first cardiac pacemakers and liver transplants.

In 2013, Worthington first arrived in Washington for a 12-month job with the Presidential Innovation Fellows Program. After that, the Healthcare.gov website failed midway through his fellowship, which strengthened his belief that the federal governments needed to establish a public service-oriented corps to create the most crucial citizen-facing websites.

“Compared to other professions in the nation, the computer sector has not historically had a tradition of public service,” says Worthington. The Supreme Court clerkship is the most prestigious job you can get after graduating from law school. However, there isn’t the idea that working for the Social Security Administration to deliver first-rate services to citizens is the same as doing the most prestigious thing you can as a top designer or computer scientist.

According to Worthington, the IT sector spends far too much time trying to find solutions to issues that aren’t all that significant, like increasing user engagement with an app. His business concept, a live music app to assist people in locating concerts near their location, had to be abandoned to join the government. He has experienced a few “twangs of regret,” and he is aware that his friends in the tech sector have earned more money as a result of their work. “However, at the end of the day, who cares about that product, right?” “You’re making the weekend more pleasant for relatively wealthy people,” he said.

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The VA and the federal government as a whole should be considered for some of the fired tech workers’ upcoming endeavours, as DelBene and Worthington hope. DelBene said that the topic at hand “concerns both the largest integrated healthcare provider in the United States and one of the major financial services firms in the United States, both rolled into one.” There is a no bigger task, I can guarantee you, for tech professionals looking for a challenge than coming to the VA and aiding us in this sort of change.

To recruit laid-off IT professionals from the commercial sector, the US Department of Veterans Affairs makes a plea for higher compensation.

One of the largest US government organizations, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), is attempting to hire some of the tens of thousands of specialists who have been laid off from tech behemoths like Amazon, Meta, and Twitter this year.

Governments all over the world have had difficulty luring new employees, especially in the technological fields that are crucial to their attempts to undergo a digital transformation to increase efficiency and enhance public services.

Crunchbase News reports that as of 2022, more than 85,000 US IT industry employees had been let go by both major and small businesses. Through focused marketing and more lucrative pay incentives, VA is attempting to lure some of these to the federal government. According to Nathan Tierney, the chief human talent management officer at the VA’s Office of Information and Technology, the agency has the chance to “bring on talent and build up a diverse staff” as a result of the extensive layoffs.

Using analytics tools on LinkedIn and other sites, Tierney claimed his team had found 4,900 potential workers, and they were attempting to persuade these applicants to attend virtual recruiting fairs. According to Tierney, the VA has proposed a special salary rate that would raise the pay of technical specialists and “reduce the 60% salary disparity between the federal government and the private sector.” This rate would also benefit 75,000 current government employees if it were authorised.

Additionally, VA has revamped its career website to showcase perks, including student debt reduction, pensions, and retention incentives, while also making job descriptions more recognizable to individuals in the IT sector. 60% of the department’s workforce, including the majority of the new hires it hopes to make, will likely work from home. The possibility of being able to “give that landing pad for persons to have some public service, to take what they’ve learned in industry and apply it here to take us to that next level,” he said, “has me excited.”

As strikes approach, the UK transport secretary claims that public sector pay increases cannot keep up with inflation.

According to UK Transport Secretary Mark Harper, inflation-matching salary raises for public sector employees are “unaffordable,” which raises the likelihood of upcoming strikes in the nation’s civil service, National Health Service, and railway system. Harper said on Sky’s Sunday show that the government does not have a “bottomless pit” of resources. The public sector employees put in a lot of effort, so we want to try to offer them all good salary increases, but they can’t be inflation-busting increases, he added.

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Given the circumstances, “there isn’t enough money to pay for everything.” We haven’t seen comparable rises in the private sector, where wage increases have frequently been lower than the rate of inflation, which I know is difficult for workers. His remarks come as thousands of civil servants from the Home Office, transport, and other departments, including those at ports and borders, prepare to go on strike for a month beginning in the middle of December. This strike would cause travel disruptions throughout the Christmas season.

More than 84 percent of Public and Commercial Services (PCS) union members supported industrial action in a vote that ended last month, with more than 124 employer regions meeting the 50% turnout requirement. The union is advocating for a 10% pay increase, which is significantly higher than the government’s cap of 2%, as well as better pensions and redundancy terms.

In addition to walkouts by members of the central government, nurses are scheduled to go on their first-ever nationwide strike in the UK this month. In the coming weeks, train drivers, postal employees, and maybe teachers will also strike over wages and working conditions.

Singapore government employees will receive wage increases that exceed inflation.

According to the minister in charge of public service, Chan Chun Sing, almost all civil servants in Singapore will get wage adjustments that are higher than inflation. Chan stated to parliament last week that for all workers who match the requirements, rises from a recent wage review combined with yearly salary increases and “annual variable component” (AVC) payments will exceed the city’s and state’s 5.1% inflation rate.

The Public Service Division stated that junior grade officers would get an additional one-time payment of S$700 (US$515) and that city workers would receive a year-end payment equivalent to a 1.1-month year-end bonus in appreciation of their efforts and the economic outlook.

When the mid-year payments are added in, civil workers will have earned a total of 1.45 months’ worth of full-year AVC payments, with more junior grades getting an extra amount of up to S$1,100 (US$810) in 2022. One in a “very, very tiny” percentage of employees, according to Chan, may not fulfil the performance standards and, as a result, won’t see their salary increase over inflation.

Canada’s public service will add more employees.

According to the country’s parliamentary budget director, Canada’s public sector headcount is predicted to rise to 409,000 over the following five years, an increase of 18,000 employees above 2021 numbers. According to Yves Giroux’s estimate in the government’s most recent budget estimates, an additional C$2.3 billion (US$1.7 billion) will be required to pay for the salaries and benefits of workers in Canada’s expanding bureaucracy.

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The yearly labour expenditure will rise to C$55 billion (US$40.9 billion) as a result. Since Justin Trudeau was elected prime minister in 2015, Canada has made major efforts to expand the number of people working in the public sector. With the COVID-19 pandemic beginning in 2020, this tendency drastically picked up speed.

According to Giroux, personnel spending had increased by an average of 6.7% a year, and the headcount of the Canadian public service increased from 342,000 in 2015–2016 to 391,000 in 2020–2021.

The Canada Border Services Agency will receive C$137 million (US$101 million) to hire and train additional border guards, and Veterans Affairs will receive C$115 million (US$85.5 million) to hire new and retain existing case managers. They were the two major hiring-related winners in Canada’s autumn economic statement. To help clear its backlogs, Immigration, Refugee and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) anticipates hiring 1,250 new roles. According to Giroux, all indications point to the administration making an attempt to increase its capabilities. Oh yeah, he said, “they are enlarging the public service with the monies that were stated in or before to the fall economic statement.”

Edited by Prakriti Arora

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