It’s no secret that the “Silver Tsunami” poses a huge challenge for federal IT. The technology workforce has been getting older for decades, and the massive wave of retirements that will take place over the coming years will shake up the government in ways that are both numerous and difficult to predict.
One sure thing is that millennials will play a much greater role in the federal IT workforce in the coming years. Research indicates that millennials represent roughly one-fourth of the government workforce, but that figure is expected to increase to nearly 75 percent by 2025. Agencies that position themselves to deal with this change will find much greater success in adapting to the situation. They’ll need to establish sensible policies and deploy effective IT solutions to meet the demands of younger workers.
One of the key demands that millennials will make on agencies is workplace flexibility. A 2017 survey by Deloitte found that millennials expect a workplace to offer flexible hours and roles while enabling users to work from any location. The good news is that this flexibility offers benefits to both workers and employers. The Deloitte survey found that 82 percent of millennials who are employed in a highly flexible workplace say that flexibility has a positive impact on their health, happiness and well-being. At agencies, 81 percent of millennial workers say they achieve greater productivity in a flexible environment.
Meeting millenials’ demands for flexibility will require further agency investments in mobile technologies. Devices are only part of the equation. Agencies need solutions to manage content and applications, as well as mobile devices. They also should explore cloud solutions that provide users with access to their work environment no matter where they are or what device they have.
Design Smart Security Training for Millennial Workers
An influx of younger workers also will create serious concerns for many agencies. The changing federal workplace will pose new security challenges that must be addressed.
Cyberthreats have evolved into sophisticated operations that run like a business, with strategic plans and roles that reflect each individual’s skills and strengths. Agencies must be prepared to defend their networks and data against these advanced threats.
The general millennial workforce must receive effective security training. Younger workers have come of age with a different approach to security than their older colleagues. Research conducted by Forcepoint indicates that millennials’ online behavior could put agencies at risk. For example, 77 percent of millennials said they had connected with nonsecure Wi-Fi networks in the past month. Training will be an essential element of any federal effort to address this problem, as 26 percent of millennials said that no cybersecurity programs or activities were available to them.
However, the need for training extends to more than just security. As older feds retire in greater numbers, their replacements must be prepared to succeed. Agencies have to ensure that younger workers are armed with the institutional knowledge they need to be effective in their jobs.
The changing workforce poses an unprecedented challenge for the federal government, but agencies must find a way to overcome it.