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News Release

Thursday, July 01, 2004
Contact: Eldon Girdner
Tel: 202-606-2402

OPM Director Kay James Releases Survey Indicating Patriotism Runs High Among Federal Job Applicants

On Eve of July 4th Commemoration, New Survey Data demonstrates Commitment to Public Service Remains High. Applicants interested in ideals and America's secure future

Washington, D.C. - At the National Press Club today, Kay Coles James, Director of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, revealed the results of two recent surveys that point to an overall positive environment within the labor market for federal managers as they look to recruit/hire talented and qualified individuals for positions in the government.

James stated, "On the eve of America's Independence Day celebrations, it is inspiring to know that the ideal of serving the nation through public service remains high among those interested in the Civil Service. There is a large pool of talented and educated individuals who are eager to serve in the federal government. This is good news for departments and agencies as they streamline their hiring systems in order to fill key positions over the next decade."

James continued, "There are also encouraging signs with regard to the attitude of young adults toward the Federal government. When asked to express a preference, 43 percent of these respondents said they would choose to work in the public sector for the federal government rather than in the private sector."

The data also challenged the notion of some who claim, that the spirit of service to America has diminished since 9/11.

The surveys were conducted at a recruitment fair in New York City and a job fair for Presidential Management Fellows finalists in Washington, D.C. The surveys were conducted by a Washington, DC research firm, "the polling company."

New York City Job Fair

The New York City Recruitment Fair had 15,010 attendees. There were 44 agencies and departments represented at the fair. This survey was an intercept interview study of attendees conducted in-person and on-site at the Working for America Recruitment Fair. Approximately 5,000 questionnaires were distributed at the Fair, and 932 questionnaires were collected for a response rate of nearly 19%. The margin of error for the survey is calculated at + 3%.

Interest for federal jobs is high

  • By a ratio of almost 6 to 1, respondents who had a preference said they would rather work for the federal government (41%) than have a job in the private sector (7%).
  • When asked the main reason for attending this fair, 48% said "learn more about what jobs are available with federal government," 13% said "learn more about what jobs are available in the private sector." Note: 27% said schedule interviews for a job, 15% said find networking opportunities and 8% were just generally curious.

Federal jobs have appeal

  • 85% of respondents think "helping people and making a difference is an appealing feature of a federal job.
  • 80% of respondents think having job security is an appealing feature.
  • 79% think having good pay and benefits is an appealing feature
  • 76% think serving your community and country is an appealing feature.

The appeal of federal jobs has increased in last few years.

  • Almost two thirds (64%) of respondents said they had more interest in working for the federal government now than they did a few years ago. Only 4% had less interest.


The Presidential Management Fellows (PMF) Program, formerly called the Presidential Management Intern (PMI) Program, has been significantly redesigned at OPM under Director James to elevate the stature of the program. James views the revamped PMF program as an invaluable recruitment tool for agencies to reach the best and brightest individuals coming out of university graduate programs.

"The future looks quite good for the PMF Program." James said. "Right now, it fits in the category of best kept secrets for hiring top talent into agencies but as the word of mouth spreads, I am confident that the competition among individuals for entrance into the program and for agencies competing for these fellows will only be elevated."

Over half (309) of the Presidential Management Fellows' finalists attended a recent hiring fair in Washington, DC and responded to a professional survey designed to learn more about recruitment of top future leadership candidates for service in the federal government. Among the key findings were:

· More than 9 out of 10 respondents to the recent study say they want to work for the federal government.

· More than half those who responded to the study say a sense of patriotism attracts them to working in the federal service."

· There is almost unanimous belief the federal government provides competitive benefits (96% of respondents agree with 76% strongly agreeing)

· There is almost unanimous belief there are opportunities for advancement in the federal government (95% show agreement, with 45% strongly agreeing).

· A job with the federal government was most often selected (chosen by 39% of the respondents) as "ideal" from a crowded list of seven options. Additionally, more than 7 out of 10 respondents cited some sort of federal government work, either exclusively, or as a mix with other sectors as an ideal career path.

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