Federal IT Workforce Could Experience a Shift as Amazon HQ2 Sets Up in NOVA

Amazon HQ2 Sets Up in NOVA

Local and state governments are excited about the new Amazon HQ2 arriving in Northern Virginia. It brings with it a promise of jobs — not just any jobs, but high-paying tech jobs. Amazon HQ2 at National Landing will further Washingon, DC’s status as a leading technology hub. It will also create a talent shift that may reshape employment and federal IT contracting as it currently exists.

Northern Virginia was selected because the Washington, DC metropolitan area already had a secure, highly-educated workforce. However, within the federal IT talent pool, IT employees make up just over four percent of the full-time civilian workforce. Moreover, of that group, only 2.5 percent are under 30 years old. This percentage leaves the current federal IT workforce already limited and aging. By looking at the collaboration between federal and private sectors, there is a significant opportunity for talent development.

Currently, human resource managers are looking at opportunities to stretch an already zero surplus of cyber and technology talent pools. Every IT opening, within the federal government or private sector, will need creative solutions to obtain and retain the best and the brightest. The tight talent pool of a robust cyber workforce is also hindered by the huge backlog of almost 700,000 workers awaiting security clearances to enable them to work on sensitive projects. The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) has been working on initiatives to speed up the recruitment and security clearance process.

By developing Washington, DC as a major technology hub, the talent pool will expand. In addition to the swell of a talented cyber workforce, the universities within the Virginia Commonwealth have designed and developed graduate innovation programs. Virginia Tech announced, along with the Commonwealth of Virginia, the new Potomac Yard Innovation Campus, host to masters and doctoral-level programs focusing specifically on technology. George Mason University announced on Nov. 13 that it will create an Institute for Digital Innovation on its Arlington campus. These programs will make the area a technological innovation hub, developing and enhancing the technology talent pipeline.

A short-sighted view may have human resource managers struggling to see how they can continue to attract top talent away from the big draw of the new Amazon HQ2. However, recently the Office of Personnel Management has expanded initiatives for agency leadership to advance recruitment for Information Technology positions and to accelerate classification of IT and cyber talent. In the long term, with the arrival of Amazon’s HQ2, government initiatives, strong support through major universities, and a widening talent pool, these factors combined will all prove to be a windfall for federal agencies.

Acendre Recruitment, a modern, FedRAMP Authorized system that helps federal agencies hire faster and save millions of dollars, can help federal agencies address the new reality of competing for talent in the D.C. metropolitan area. As the federal government increases its direct hiring authorities to address critical federal hiring needs in cybersecurity, STEM, law enforcement and more, Acendre’s powerful direct hiring capabilities can help. Visit acendre.com/accelerate-directhiring to learn more.

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