Study Shows HR Trends for Public Workers

From the October IcmaRC Employer Bulletin:

A brief, “Local Government Employment, Benefits, and Retirement Issues”, recently released by ICMA-RC and the Center for State and Local Government Excellence (SLGE), found that one-third of human resource executives made changes to the retirement plans they offer to employees within the past 12 months.1

“With a growing wave of retirements and sustained fiscal constraints, local government leaders could be surprised at how difficult it is to fill key positions,” said Elizabeth Kellar, President and CEO of SLGE. “Part of the solution is to help employees develop critically important skills. Equally important is to build 21st Century human resources practices that will appeal to the next generation of public servants.”

Additional brief highlights:

  • Since 2008, which was the 10-year peak, public sector employment is down three percent for all local government workers.2
  • As a cohort, local public sector workers are more educated than their private sector counterparts. Twenty-three percent of local government workers have a master’s, professional, or doctorate degree, compared to 8.3 percent of private sector workers.3
  • The most common retirement plan changes in 2012 for new hires, according to local government human resource respondents, was to increase age and service requirements for normal retirement and reduce pension benefits. For current workers, 23 percent of those surveyed answered that current employee contributions to pension plans had increased over the past year.4

During the past six years, with ICMA-RC’s support, SLGE has released more than 35 studies with the goal of educating local and state public employees and employers, other sectors and levels of government, the media, and the public about a range of issues facing governments.

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