Local government has been the best-kept secret in terms of a career path but with local government employees reaching retirement age, there are not enough young professionals on staff to move into senior-level positions.
Confusing Job Titles
Inherently, if we as local government employees cannot describe our jobs effectively, how do we expect to advertise open job opportunities? Many potential applicants do not understand city government management structures.
Human Resource Managers keep the job descriptions so vague thinking it will attract more candidates, but this ultimately hurts because applicants have no idea what the job actually entails.
It is important that when local governments post new positions, managers need to get more specific about what the person will be doing day-to-day.
So Many Options
A few career avenues one can take in local government include: Parks and Recreation, Compliance, Auditing, Legal, Emergency Response, Disaster Planning, Waste Water and Sewer, Land Use Management, Sustainability, Planning, Health and Human Services, Economic Development, Community Development, Human Resources, Budgeting, Capital Improvement, and of course, management.
Many young professionals want to work in these areas, but if job descriptions aren’t clear enough, how will an animal lover know about the budget director position at the zoo or the kennel? People subconsciously take jobs that usually align with their interests, no matter how large or small.
Government employees are a little weird for being local government nerds, so highlight the nerdy details in the job description! It helps job applicants see the different career avenues in local government and outlines how cool their jobs will be.
Don’t Hide the Benefits
Too many times we think millennials or generation z will not appreciate the fantastic retirement and healthcare benefits local government has to offer. Movements such as the FIRE movement (Financially Independent, Retire Early) are catching on with younger generations and government can be a good pathway for these individuals.
The younger generation is also very aware of the cost of healthcare and prescription drug prices. Local governments offer great healthcare benefits to help cover these costs. They are great for families and singles. Do not just say “we offer excellent Pension and Healthcare benefits” in your job descriptions. Spell it out for them, over-sell the job. By doing this, you will get many more quality candidates.
Most local government positions are true 8 am-5 pm jobs. Most government jobs are people facing, so when the office closes, there is not much work left to do if people cannot get into the building. This allows employees to pursue passions outside of work.
Government work is very rewarding, even if it takes years to see our efforts come to fruition. Young professionals are eager to make an impact and are willing to run through a brick wall to do so.
Managers should give young employees “range” projects that have a major impact on the community, even though they may not be ready. Allowing them to prove themselves while guiding them along the way lets them to grow professionally while taking on important projects. Therefore, in the job descriptions, spell out some of the long-range, strategic projects the applicant could be working on in the role.
Brag about our industry, talk about all the great perks and the awesome work. By making job descriptions more clear, concise, and honest, young people will apply for employment opportunities. Everything government offers is what the next generation wants.