Shutdown Squashing Interest in Government Jobs Among Current, Potential Workers

Paul Ausick

On Friday, federal workers affected by the government shutdown will miss their second paychecks in the 35 days since the lockout began. The shutdown is driving federal employees to look for new jobs and for job-seekers who may once have wanted to work for the federal government to look elsewhere for a job.

The U.S. Senate on Thursday rejected competing plans from Republicans and Democrats when neither could muster the 60 votes needed for passage. Had one or the other passed, however, the House would certainly have rejected a Republican measure or the president would certainly have rejected a Democratic measure, even if both the House and the Senate had agreed on the bill.

What federal workers are left with are promises of payment (in most cases) when the shutdown ends. Until then, however, they have no income and are still required to work. Air traffic controllers and transportation safety officers are just two examples of federal workers who are “excepted” from the shutdown furlough but who are not being paid.

Online career center Glassdoor said on Thursday that the number of federal workers currently looking for jobs on the Glassdoor website is up by 10%. But that’s not the worst news.

The number of applications for federal jobs at agencies that have been affected by the furlough has dropped by nearly half. Glassdoor notes that, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics data, the federal government normally hires about 30,000 people a month. No new hires have been added in over a month now, and the shutdown “also hurts the federal government’s reputation as an employer and its ability to attract top talent.” That hit to its reputation could last for a long time, too.

Glassdoor concludes:

While the impact of the government shutdown has been much-discussed in recent weeks, the focus has been on closed government services and workers’ challenges in making month-to-month payments. Less visible is the risk of the shutdown degrading the quality of the federal workforce by pushing current employees into private sector jobs and by deterring aspiring candidates from applying at all.

More detail and the methodology used for the study are available on the Glassdoor website.