Attracting the Next Generation of Federal Leaders

The Senior Executive Association (SEA) in partnership with Avue Technologies Corporation recently conducted a survey that reveals attractors and detractors to serving in executive positions within the Federal government.  This survey was prompted by reports that capable GS-14s and GS-15s do not aspire to serve in career Senior Executive Service or equivalent positions.

The issue the government faces is being able to attract “high-potential” executives to fill these senior-level positions.

Some of the findings of this study included:

  • A large number of respondents have not attended an executive education or SES candidate development program.
  • Many respondents said they lack clear and accessible information about SES and Senior Professional positions, including the differences between these positions and those under the General Schedule, development opportunities for these positions, and ways to positions oneself to apply for and succeed in these positions.
  • One of the main detractors cited was the potential negative impact on the balance of work and family responsibilities.
  • Only a small percentage of respondents said they received supervisor encouragement to follow a senior level position.

SEA President Carol Bonosaro said, “The career executive corps is critical to high performing government and key to implementing any Administration’s political and management agenda. We must continue to attract the best and the brightest to these positions, but this report demonstrates that the detractors to serving are substantial and require action by Congress and the Administrations.”

The big question is how do we attract the best and the brightest to these senior level positions?

Many respondents stated they have never attended an executive education or SES candidate development program. One opportunity for the Federal government is to actively pursue and develop the “high potential” talent within their agency by creating an Executive Development program that focuses on growth opportunities for these executives. Including cohort-based action learning that is applicable to their future career aspirations makes it relevant for participants.

The April issue of Talent Management discusses the importance of Executive Development and explains how cohort-based action learning must link strategically to current and future organizational challenges to be successful.

Catching your rising stars early and grooming them to be your next SES leaders can no longer be something you’d like-to-do, it’s something you have-to-do.

Here is a link to the full report Taking the Helm: Attracting the Next Generation of Federal Leaders.

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