Gen Z employees are underrepresented in the federal government, according to a new report.
The nonprofit Partnership for Public Service analyzed federal retention trends centering on Gen X and Gen Z.
In 2021, the turnover rate for Gen Z was notably higher than the government-wide rate.
Generation Z — the newest generation to enter the labor market — is notably underrepresented in the federal government.
That's according to a new report released Monday by the Partnership for Public Service, a nonpartisan nonprofit that analyzed staff retention trends in the federal government centering on Gen X — born between the mid-1960s and the earliest part of the 1980s — and Gen Z. Insider obtained an early copy of the report.
In 2021, Gen Z — generally regarded people born during a year from 1997 to 2012 — composed nearly 10% of the US labor force, but less than 2% of the federal workforce. That same year, Gen X made up less than 32% of the labor force, but over 40% of the federal workforce.
The average turnover rate for Gen Z in the federal government — more than 12% — was also significantly higher than the federal government-wide rate at around 6%.
"The federal government has long struggled to recruit younger generations, and this trend has continued with Gen Z," the report read. "A high turnover rate for Gen Z employees has exacerbated this trend."
And this isn't a new pattern, according to the report.
After 2008, the annual Gen X turnover rate decreased, dropping to about 3% from a previous high of about 6%. But the annual Gen Z turnover rate has been over 10% since 2005.
This suggests that Gen Z's attrition rate is not a generational anomaly, Paul M. Pietsch, senior manager of research and analysis at the Partnership for Public Service, told Insider.
"It's rather the continuation of a nearly 20-year old pattern of younger people leaving government at a higher rate than their older colleagues — likely a result of the big decisions like pursuing an advanced degree that are typically at the beginning of a career," he said.
A graying government
An August report from the Partnership for Public Service revealed that young federal government employees left their jobs at higher rates than their older counterparts.
And Insider's "Red, White, and Gray" series revealed how federal government leadership across Congress, the executive branch, and the judiciary is old and getting older — with a large majority of Americans saying they believe the government is too old, according to a recent Insider/Morning Consult poll.
Congress will, however, soon have its first Gen Z member in Maxwell Frost, a 25-year-old Democrat who won Florida's
Financial stability was a chief concern among Gen Z workers, who on average had more than $18,000 in student debt in 2021.
"The COVID-19 crisis has contributed to financial anxieties, with some reports showing that Gen Z's interest in saving money increased during the pandemic," the Partnership for Public Service's report states.
Opportunities for growth were also a top priority among Gen Z workers. With less than three years of post-college experience in the workforce, many Gen Z workers are keeping their options open, and may change jobs faster than their older counterparts.
"The Gen Zers we spoke to discussed wanting to seek opportunities throughout the federal government rather than only growing within their current agency for their whole careers," the report read.
With the COVID-19 pandemic still present, workplace flexibility and easy-to-use digital technologies were also among the priorities of Gen X and Gen Z federal employees, according to the report.
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