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Survey Highlights Simple Fixes for Government's Hiring Processes

New research suggests that when government agencies include diversity, equity and inclusion in the hiring process, it can improve hiring outcomes across federal, state and local governments.

Findings from a new survey suggest that opportunities exist for federal, state and local governments to improve satisfaction in hiring.

Workforce changes are reshaping the hiring process for the public sector, and experts have offered different solutions, from increasing wages to rethinking service delivery.

The research from Qualtrics and CivicPulse, which was obtained by surveying over 1,000 federal, state and local government employees in the U.S., suggests that the hiring process itself plays a major role in satisfaction for new hires.

It is important to note that satisfaction rates with the hiring process differed between levels of government. Local government hires reported the highest satisfaction rates at 77 percent, state government hires at 75 percent and federal government hires at 64 percent.

The survey also found that satisfaction levels of recent hires vary depending on gender and ethnicity. For example, at the state and local level, those who identify as women and those who identify as part of a minority community reported the lowest satisfaction levels.

As government agencies increasingly work to improve inclusion for constituents of marginalized populations, their commitment to inclusion internally is also important, as the research demonstrates that diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) initiatives also play a role in the satisfaction of new hires.

Across all demographic groups at the state and local level, higher rates of satisfaction were reported for those in organizations that explicitly acknowledge DEI efforts. Satisfaction rates for organizations that acknowledge DEI was at 81 percent, while it was 64 percent for those that did not.

Similarly, the ability to work remotely played a role in satisfaction. Remote work is widely accepted as one of the ways to improve the accessibility of government jobs. The survey results also demonstrate this, as state and local government employees report higher rates of satisfaction when they have the option of working remotely.

Remote work options are still more likely to be offered by state governments than local governments, the research found. Incorporating DEI practices into hiring, however, is more common in local governments than state governments.

Finally, there are different rates of satisfaction at different stages of the hiring process. For example, the interview phase of the process received the highest satisfaction rates across all three levels of government with 82 percent. The application phase came second with 77 percent satisfaction, followed by the assessment phase with 68 percent. The offer phase itself saw the lowest satisfaction rate at 66 percent.