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Federal Careers and the 2020 Budget Request

The president's budget request for fiscal year 2020 can divide a lot of people. After all, the request includes some controversial proposals. However, if there's one area in the budget request we can all agree on, it probably has to do with proposed reforms in federal hiring and recruitment!

While not a lot of details have been released yet, the president's request mentions "developing a workforce for the 21st century" (similar to the 2018 & 2019 requests). More specifically, there's an effort to simplify the federal hiring process led by the Office of Personnel Management, in partnership with the Departments of Defense, Labor, and others. There's also an objective to focus on recruiting top talent in critical roles in the federal government and hire more expertise in science, engineering, and technology (STE). This is a great opportunity for talented and public service-orientated STE young professionals and transitioning military veterans to land a federal career. Depending on the position, there might be pay incentives or bonuses to go along with it so read the job announcements carefully!

In 2020, just as it did in 2019 and 2018, the budget proposal includes language and initiatives on modernizing the federal workforce. It also includes efforts to reward high-performing federal workers while improving performance management across all federal agencies. Part of this agenda mentions strengthening customer service within the human resources profession (and other public-facing agencies and offices) and making the recruitment process more accessible and transparent for all applicants. Overall, I think these are noble goals and important opportunities to improve the efficiency with which services are provided to the public while opening the door to strengthen employee engagement and critical skills. Again, much of this will depend on the specific details of the request and how or if they'll be enacted.

So what does this all mean for existing and prospective federal employees? Check out my quick takeaways below! 

  • First thing's first - the president's 2020 budget proposal is just that, a PROPOSAL. It is the first step in a much longer process that Congress will need to consider and weigh-in on. That said, I still see a lot of hiring opportunities for current and prospective public servants who want federal careers. 

  • While the president's 2020 budget proposes fairly significant funding reductions for some popular energy, health, and environmental programs, some of those cuts are likely to be restored by Congress. Keep applying when you see job openings! Check out or contact us to get a jump start on your federal application!

  • The president's management agenda focuses on some potentially exciting projects: modernize information technology, streamline federal hiring, and strengthen federal program management to ensure resources are properly used. As a former Executive Branch employee who values public service and the contributions federal employees make every day, the Administration has outlined some pretty lofty goals to transform the federal workforce. 

Stay tuned as we learn more about what this means for your federal career!




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