Agencies Need Better IT Workforce Planning
Published: November 07, 2019
According to a GAO report released last week, federal agencies need to do more in the way of IT workforce planning activities.
GAO’s report entitled, Information Technology: Agencies Need to Fully Implement Key Workforce Planning Activities measured federal agency progress in implementing IT workforce planning processes. In 2016, GAO compiled an evaluation framework for IT workforce planning based on multiple federal laws, guidance, and initiatives. The framework identifies four major workforce planning steps and eight supporting activities:
Key Information Technology (IT) Workforce Planning Steps and Activities
- Set the strategic direction for IT workforce planning
- Establish and maintain a workforce planning process
- Develop competency and staffing requirements
- Analyze the IT workforce to identify skill gaps
- Assess competency and staffing needs regularly
- Assess gaps in competencies and staffing
- Develop strategies and implement activities to address IT skill gaps
- Develop strategies and plans to address gaps in competencies and staffing
- Implement activities that address gaps (including IT acquisition cadres, cross-functional training of acquisition and program personnel, career paths for program managers, plans to strengthen program management, and use of special hiring authorities)
- Monitor and report progress in addressing IT skill gaps
- Monitor the agency’s progress in addressing competency and staffing gaps
- Report to agency leadership on progress in addressing competency and staffing gaps
GAO analyzed each of the 24 CFO Act agencies regarding their progress in implementing the eight IT workforce planning activities. GAO found a wide variation in implementation to date. None of the agencies had fully implemented all eight activities. However, almost all of the agencies had taken steps to begin implementing at least three of the activities.
The table below shows the implementation status for each of the eight IT workforce planning activities and the level of implementation to date by each agency.
The most progress has been made in the area of developing competency and staffing requirements. This is followed by assessing gaps in competencies and staffing and assessing competency and staffing needs regularly.
The least implemented activity was reporting to agency leadership on progress in addressing competency and staffing gaps followed by monitoring the agency’s progress in addressing competency and staffing gaps.
DOD, VA and SSA have implemented the most IT workforce planning activities, according to GAO’s assessment.
Agencies attributed the lack of implementation to several different reasons, including competing priorities and limited resources. GAO recommends that agencies fully implement all eight IT workforce planning activities in order to ensure better management of IT funds and IT project success.