Commentary by Jeff Neal
Founder of ChiefHRO.com
& Senior Vice President, ICF International
This column was originally published on Jeff Neal’s blog, ChiefHRO.com, and was republished here with permission from the author.
I’ve written recently about the civil service reforms of the last century that created the General Schedule and why I believe it may have outlived its usefulness. The General Schedule worked well when half of federal employees were GS-5 and below and most of the rest of the workforce was spread out over the remaining grades. Today, 7.4 percent of the federal workforce is GS-5 and below. Grade levels are increasing, the number of positions in the top grades is increasing and grade compression at the top of the range is beginning to create significant issues. Today’s post will address some fallacies about the General Schedule. Next week, I will address some facts about the workforce and its demographics. Finally, the following week I will address the consequences of grade compression and what we can do to replace the General Schedule with something more useful for today’s workforce and labor market.
Fallacies About the General Schedule
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When I talk with people in and out of government, I hear a number of fallacies regarding the General Schedule. Here are just a few:
|GS-5XX Total (including non-GSEG)||128,038||122,344||-4.45%|
These are but a few of the fallacies surrounding the General Schedule. That they are accepted as gospel, and serve as the basis for many of the debates about the future of federal pay policy is a little frightening. If we want federal employees to have competitive pay that is based on the realities of the labor market where we compete for talent, we have to start facing facts. Next week I will outline some of those facts and how they should be considered when considering next steps on federal pay.
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Copyright 2013 by Jeff Neal. All rights reserved.
Jeff Neal is founder of the blog, ChiefHRO.com, and a senior vice president for ICF International, where he leads the Organizational Research, Learning and Performance practice. Before coming to ICF, Neal was the chief human capital officer at the Department of Homeland Security and the chief human resources officer at the Defense Logistics Agency.