Is low agency attrition a bad thing?

Wednesday - 11/3/2010, 10:00pm EDT

By Jolie Lee
Federal News Radio

A report released Wednesday said the cost of government attrition goes beyond dollar figures alone but can also have "significant consequences" on an agency's policies and programs.

The Partnership for Public Service and Booz Allen Hamilton conducted interviews and focus groups with more than 20 agencies for the study.

In general, federal attrition is low, at nearly 6 percent in 2009, below that of the private sector. Low attrition could be a sign that employees are satisfied with their jobs, but the statistics might mask another problem: The need for agencies to inject fresh thinking and innovation with new hires, according to the report.

The study found that government is losing too many new hires at the same time it's expected to experience a retirement "tsunami" in the coming years. More than 28 percent of the federal workforce was eligible to retire in fiscal year 2009. By 2015, the Office of Management and Budget estimates more than 48 percent of feds will be eligible to retire.