As leaders in the Biden-Harris Administration’s efforts to strengthen and empower the Federal workforce, our number one mission is to equip Federal agencies with the necessary resources to attract, hire, develop, and retain talented workers to make our government more efficient, resilient, and effective, while positioning the Federal government as a model employer.
As we release the President’s FY 2024 Budget, we are proud of the mission-driven investments it makes in the Federal government’s most important asset – our people. The nearly 4 million Federal employees, including 2.2 million Federal civil servants, serve on behalf of the American public each and every day. These investments will play a key role in delivering on that mission and reinforce the Administration’s commitment to protecting, empowering, and rebuilding the career Federal workforce.
The Federal workforce investments and policies outlined in this year’s Budget include:
- Proposing a legislative provision that reinforces a commitment to a non-partisan, merit-based Federal workforce
- Promoting recruitment of qualified employees and prioritizing robust early career, internship, fellowship, and apprenticeship programs
- Providing an average pay increase of 5.2 percent for Federal military and civilian employees in 2024, in recognition of their hard work and to maintain competitiveness in agencies’ efforts to attract qualified public servants
- Expanding agency hiring capacity through targeted “Talent Teams” – strategically focused teams that promote the use of shared recruiting and hiring practices and vigorous employee assessments – making the hiring process better for both applicants and hiring managers
- Providing stable and predictable funding in order to reform Federal Executive Boards across the country to strengthen the Federal workforce, better communicate and execute management and workforce priorities, and encourage cross-agency local community engagement
- Funding agencies at levels to sustain well-resourced human capital functions (such as staffing, employee development, and benefits administration) capable of rebuilding and strengthening the workforce
- Prioritizing implementation of agency-crafted diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility (DEIA) plans designed to embed respectful workplace culture in routine actions and practices in order to enhance mission delivery
Coupled with the President’s Management Agenda and its carefully constructed human capital strategies to strengthen and empower the Federal workforce, the Budget prioritizes three workforce elements that are essential for any employer: hiring, pay, and empowerment.
The Budget provides consistent support to agency Talent Teams, designed to inject targeted strategic hiring practices and operations at the employing agency level, and for agencies to adopt the use of improved assessments. More than 26 agencies have begun standing up and hiring into Talent Teams, and we’ve already started seeing early success. Talent Teams look strategically across the agency to identify opportunities to streamline the hiring process, and engage in tactics (like shared hiring actions, targeted recruitment, and assessment strategies) that help identify the best candidates for the job.
Furthermore, the Biden-Harris Administration strongly believes that one of the most impactful ways to rebuild the Federal government’s early career talent pipeline is to revive and expand Federal internship programs. Last year’s Budget supported the hiring of 35,000 interns across the government, and OPM provided guidance to agencies on increasing paid internships and unveiled a new internship portal to improve the applicant experience for potential interns. This year’s Budget continues to sustain opportunities for interns, apprentices, and early career talent – particularly through paid opportunities – to ensure equitable access.
After a pay raise of 4.6 percent in 2023, the FY 2024 Budget provides for an average pay increase of 5.2 percent for Federal military and civilian employees. The President’s 5.2 percent pay raise not only recognizes the Federal workforce’s dedication and service to the American people, but it will play a critical role in positioning the Federal Government to better compete in the labor market to attract and retain a well-qualified Federal workforce. The pay increase also signifies the second year of ensuring that all Federal jobs pay at a rate of at least $15 per hour.
In conjunction with the pay increase, the Budget also outlines a new call to action to address persistent pay challenges that have long curbed the ability of agencies to reward talent, including for specialized occupations, particularly in times of tight national job markets. Because of pay compression at the top end of the Federal pay scale, the difference in pay between employees, supervisors, and Senior Executives is often minimal or non-existent, which deters individuals from taking on important leadership responsibilities. The Budget proposes to rectify this long-standing pay compression, as well as blue collar Federal Wage Grade pay limitations, through legislative proposals that allow employees to be paid fairly, in both white- and blue-collar jobs.
The Budget makes clear that the President strongly supports a non-partisan, merit-based Federal workforce. At the beginning of his Administration, the President issued the Executive Order on Protecting the Workforce, that eliminated the Schedule F service category — a job classification that existed briefly at the end of the previous administration and intentionally undermined civil service protections for career employees. And last year, the Biden-Harris Administration supported recent efforts to codify the Executive Order. To that end, the Budget proposes to reinforce the underlying foundations of merit-based civilian service to protect the Federal workforce from dangerous politization.
As President Biden said in his letter to the Federal workforce, “the strength of any organization rests in its people.” This year’s Budget demonstrates a continued commitment to investing in our public servants who are the backbone of our Government. To be a Government for all of the American people, we need to focus on those who keep our Government running and deliver services each day.